Al-Qaeda Planned 9/11/11 Rail Attacks

Osama bin Laden plotted terror attacks from hideout, seized files reveal

By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff

Posted May 6, 2011 1:20 AM CDT | Updated May 6, 2011 7:05 AM CDT

(Newser) – Al-Qaeda leaders discussed attacking America's rail network on the 10th anniversary of the September 11 attacks, according to American officials who have seen the first batch of documents from Osama bin Laden's hideout. The documents reveal that bin Laden, who many experts believed had become merely an inspirational figure, maintained an active role in plotting terror attacks over the last decade.

"He wasn’t just a figurehead," an American official tells the New York Times. "He continued to plot and plan, to come up with ideas about targets and to communicate those ideas to other senior Qaeda leaders." The information about attacking railroads was in the first batch of files and documents taken from bin Laden's hideout to be translated from Arabic and analyzed, according of officials. Intelligence analysts are scrambling to search the entire cache for information on imminent terror attacks and on the location of surviving al-Qaeda leaders.

Bin Laden continued to plot terror attacks from his Abbottabad compound.
Bin Laden continued to plot terror attacks from his Abbottabad compound.   (Getty Images)
Al-Qaeda looked into carrying attacks on trains in major cities on key dates, administration officials say.
Al-Qaeda looked into carrying attacks on trains in major cities on key dates, administration officials say.   (Getty Images)
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Until now, the prevailing wisdom was that he was hiding in a remote, isolated mountain range and cut off from his followers. Now we know that was all wrong. - Bruce Hoffman, an expert on al-Qaeda
at Georgetown University

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