RealNews

As Ashcroft Warns of Attack, Some Question Threat and Its Timing

The Bush administration said on Wednesday that it had credible intelligence suggesting that Al Qaeda is planning to attack the United States in the next several months, a period in which events like an international summit meeting and the two political conventions could offer tempting targets. Attorney General John Ashcroft said at a news conference that intelligence reports and public statements by people associated with Al Qaeda suggested that the terrorist group was “almost ready to attack the United States” and harbored a “specific intention to hit the United States hard.” But some intelligence officials, terrorism experts – and to some extent even Mr. Ashcroft’s own F.B.I. director, Robert S. Mueller III – offered a more tempered assessment, saying, “For the next few weeks we have reason to believe there is a heightened threat to the U.S. interests around the world.” And some opponents of President Bush, including police and firefighter union leaders aligned with Senator John Kerry, the expected Democratic presidential candidate, said the timing of the announcement appeared intended in part to distract attention from Mr. Bush’s sagging poll numbers and problems in Iraq. Full Story

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