British Airways, Air France and Continental Airlines cancelled a total of nine flights this weekend scheduled for Sunday and Monday upon receiving word from U.S. intelligence officials that al Qaeda may be planning a chemical or biological attack aboard an aircraft, officials said. The Washington Post learned from intelligence officials on Sunday that threats included releasing a biological agent like smallpox or anthrax on a plane so those aboard would spread the infection without knowing it. The last time officials cancelled a series of flights upon learning of credible terror threats was over the 2003 holiday season. At that time, at least 15 transatlantic flights were either cancelled, delayed, disrupted or escorted by military fighter jets.
And news from Pakistan — the founder of Pakistan's nuclear weapons program, Abdul Qadeer Khan, has signed a detailed confession admitting that during the last 15 years he provided Iran, North Korea and Libya with the designs and technology to produce the fuel for nuclear weapons. Plus more on the planned U.S. anti-terror "spring offensive" in Pakistan — hardline Pakistani religious leaders warn that tribesmen may fire on U.S. forces if such an offensive takes place.
THE WAR ON TERROR
INVESTIGATIONS & ALERTS
Flights Canceled Over Al Qaeda Attack Fears Airlines grounded a domestic U.S. flight and several transatlantic flights on Sunday amid reports U.S. officials had intelligence suggesting al Qaeda may be planning a chemical or biological attack on an aircraft. (Reuters)
'Dirty Bomb' a Fear in Scrubbed Flights Intelligence pointed to a possible al Qaeda use of unconventional arms, a U.S. official says. (LA Times)
States Eye Terror Database Although privacy worries led several states to pull out of a federally funded crime and terrorism database project, others are actively considering joining and thereby sharing information on their citizens, The Associated Press has learned. (AP)
France France: No Data to Back U.S. Terror Fears France nixed flights as precaution though it has no data to back terror fears, official says. (AP)
United Kingdom Pilots Call for Evaluation of U.S. Intelligence Pilots today called for greater scrutiny of warnings from US intelligence services, after a new terror alert forced six transatlantic flights to be grounded. (The Guardian)
Key Pakistani is Said to Admit Atom Transfers The founder of Pakistan's nuclear weapons program, Abdul Qadeer Khan, has signed a detailed confession admitting that during the last 15 years he provided Iran, North Korea and Libya with the designs and technology to produce the fuel for nuclear weapons, according to a senior Pakistani official and three Pakistani journalists who attended a special government briefing here on Sunday night. (NY Times)
Hard-Liners Warn U.S. Over Proposed Al Qaeda Operations Inside Pakistan A hard-line religious coalition warned on Friday that tribesmen might fire on U.S. forces if a planned "spring offensive" against terror suspects extended into Pakistan. (AP)
Pak-Afghan-US Meeting Agrees to Enhance Cooperation Pakistan and Afghanistan on Saturday agreed to share more intelligence with the US military, the Afghan government said. (Hi Pakistan)