Seeks Al Qaeda Suspect in U.S.
The New York Times, Washington, March 20,
By Philip Shenon and Eric Lichtblau
Original address: http://www.nytimes.com/2003/03/21/international/worldspecial/21HOME.html?tnt
Federal law enforcement officials warned today about
new domestic terrorism threats, including an "imminent threat"
that might be posed by a suspected Al Qaeda member sought by the F.B.I.
The officials also said they were worried about continuing intelligence
reports that suggested terrorist attacks linked to the Iraq invasion.
The officials said that National Guard members
were sent on Tuesday to a large nuclear power plant in Arizona after
intelligence reports suggested that Al Qaeda or its sympathizers might
be planning to attack it. The officials said a foreign spy agency had
provided information about a threat to the plant, the Palo Verde Nuclear
Generating Station in Tonopah, 50 miles west of Phoenix.
The three-reactor site is classified as the largest
nuclear power plant in the United States. The officials would not say
which agency had supplied the information. Although he offered few details,
Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge said there had been a "very
specific piece of threat information" to suggest that the plant
was in danger.
Law enforcement officials said there was not necessarily
any connection between that threat and an announcement today by the
F.B.I. that it was searching for the suspect from Al Qaeda, Adnan G.
el-Shukrijumah, 27, who was born in Saudi Arabia. Residents of Miramar,
Fla., said a man who appeared to be Mr. Shukrijumah was living there
as recently as last weekend.
The F.B.I. announced the search as it said it was
preparing to interview thousands of Iraqi-born residents of the United
States in the next several weeks, to develop leads on possible terror
Law enforcement and counterterrorism officials said
Mr. Shukrijumah had been identified as a potential terrorist from Al
Qaeda by Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the senior terrorist leader who was
captured this month in Rawalpindi, Pakistan, and has been intensively
The officials said suspicions about Mr. Shukrijumah
and his intentions had grown with the discovery that he had flight training
in the United States about the same time as several Sept. 11 hijackers,
that he had recently traveled on a passport issued by Guyana and that
he had used a variety of aliases.
The bulletin said Mr. Shukrijumah might try to cross
American borders with a Saudi, Canadian or Trinidadian passport. The
bulletin included photographs of the suspect, including one from a Florida
driver's license issued in February 2001.
Neighbors in Miramar, south of Fort Lauderdale,
said a man who identified himself as Mr. Shukrijumah had lived and had
been seen there as recently as last weekend. Orville Campbell, 26, a
commercial artist who lives in a nearby apartment complex, said he saw
Mr. Shukrijumah barbecuing at 1 a.m. on Sunday with other people.
A senior Bush administration official said the government
had evidence to suggest that Mr. Shukrijumah had attended the Airman
Flight School in Norman, Okla., one of two schools that Zacarias Moussaoui
attended in 2001. Mr. Moussaoui, a Frenchmen, is awaiting trial in Virginia
on charges that he conspired with the Sept. 11 hijackers.
But the director of operations at the school, Dale
Davis, said a search of its records found no student with any of the
six names that Mr. Shukrijumah is believed to have used. In a telephone
interview, Mr. Davis said the F.B.I. had not been in contact with the
school for months and, to his knowledge, had never asked the school
about Mr. Shukrijumah.
The reports of threats to the power plant and the
search for Mr. Shukrijumah circulated as law enforcement and counterterrorism
officials said they were continuing to see new intelligence to suggest
that Al Qaeda, Iraqi intelligence agencies and others would try to carry
out terrorist attacks timed to an invasion of Iraq.
The F.B.I. said it was preparing to interview 11,000
Iraqi-born Americans and immigrants in the next few weeks for information
that they may have about threats. The program is expected to involve
almost 5,000 agents. F.B.I. officials said that the interviews, which
they described as voluntary, began months ago but were stepped up this
"It's an accelerated process," an official
said. "The intensity has picked up. Agents were knocking on doors
and saying, `Hey, is there anything you know that could be helpful as
we are waging war against your former country?' "
A spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic
Relations, Ibrahim Hooper, said the stepped-up Iraqi interviews and
the F.B.I.'s expanded powers to detain illegal immigrants were another
effort to single out unfairly Arabs and Arab-Americans in the United