Some of the first information gleaned from Osama bin Laden's compound indicates al-Qaida considered attacking U.S. trains on the upcoming anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks. But counterterrorism officials say they believe the planning never got beyond the initial phase and have no recent intelligence pointing to an active plot for such an attack.
As of February 2010, the terror organization was considering plans to attack the U.S. on the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. One idea outlined in handwritten notes was to tamper with an unspecified U.S. rail track so that a train would fall off the track at a valley or a bridge, according to a joint FBI and Homeland Security bulletin sent to law enforcement officials around the country Thursday. The al-Qaida planners noted that if they attacked a train by tilting it, the plan would only succeed once because the tilting would be spotted the next time.
The warning, obtained by The Associated Press, was marked for "official use only."
Information on the train plot appears to be the first widely circulated intelligence pulled from the raid this week on bin Laden's secret compound in Pakistan. After killing the terror leader and four of his associates, Navy SEALs confiscated a treasure trove of computers, DVDs and documents from the home where U.S. officials believe the al-Qaida chief had been hiding for up to six years.
Other intelligence information gathered at the compound represented a terrorist wish list but has revealed no specific plan so far, a U.S. official said. He said documents indicated a desire to hit the U.S. with large-scale attacks in major cities and on key dates such as anniversaries and holidays. But there was no sign those plans were anything more than ambitions. The U.S. official spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss intelligence matters.