Careful planning for mass-murder. “U.S. Feared Parcel Bomb Plot Was Coming; Saw September ‘Dry Run,'” by Matthew Cole, Richard Esposito, Matthew Mosk and Brian Ross for ABC News, November 1 (thanks to all who sent this in):
US intelligence officials feared that al Qaeda terrorists in Yemen were plotting to attack the United States and actually intercepted what they now believe were “dry run” shipments to Chicago in mid-September, according to several people briefed on the plot and a senior US official.
The senior US official told ABC News that the “dry run” involved a carton of household goods including books, religious literature, and a computer disk, but no explosives, shipped from Yemen to an address in Chicago by “someone with ties to al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.”
Another person briefed on the incident said it is now believed the terrorists sent the package “so they could track how long it took and whether there would be any problems for the package getting through the system.”
Senior administration officials told ABC News that, after the September shipment was discovered, U.S. intelligence agencies had specific concerns about the Yemen-based group’s interest in Chicago, noting not only the destination of the September shipment, but also a photograph of the Chicago skyline in a magazine recently published by the terror group’s propaganda arm.
US intelligence “intercepted the packages in transit,” the senior intelligence official said, searched them, and then allowed them to continue to Chicago.
“The dry run is always important to al Qaeda,” said Dick Clarke, a former White House counterterrorism official and now an ABC News consultant. “In this case they wanted to follow the packages using the tracking system to know exactly when they got to a point, how long the timer had to be set for, so the bomb would go off at the right point, which presumably was over Chicago.”
The US official said the CIA feared the packages “were intended to probe the security system for air cargo but there was nothing in them that could have been used to hide a bomb.”…