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Seized Records Indicate Surveillance of Buildings Was Updated This Spring

Al Qaeda operatives updated surveillance conducted at five financial institutions in New York, New Jersey and Washington as recently as this spring, according to a senior White House official who said on Thursday that the authorities still had no direct evidence of an active terror plot. Until Thursday, officials had said that the surveillance, which was carried out primarily in 2000 and 2001, had been updated no later than January. But additional analysis of computer records seized in Pakistan showed that they were updated in the spring, the White House official said. The discovery of the surveillance operations led to a terrorism alert on Aug. 1 because, the authorities said, they thought the information might be connected to separate intelligence indicating that Al Qaeda hoped to launch a major strike in the United States this year to disrupt the fall elections. New intelligence from that channel said there was a greater risk of attack this month and next – the period covering the Republican National Convention and the first phase of the fall campaign – than in October or November, the official said. Full Story

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