Al Qaeda Remarks May Signal Attack

The Oct. 2 bombing of a market in Zamboanga in the Philippines killed three people, including American Green Beret Sgt. 1st Class Mark Wayne Jackson, 40, who was in the region to train Filipino counterterrorism troops. The attackers are believed to be guerrillas fighting for Abu Sayyaf, an Islamic separatist group that is supported by al Qaeda.

Intelligence officials have said they believe al Qaeda decentralized after the U.S. attacks in Afghanistan. Many of its top leaders are hiding, allowing overseas cells to devise their own attacks, which are often poorly funded and unsophisticated. Leaders are communicating with followers through video and audiotapes, rather than direct contact.

But counterterrorism officials have said two top bin Laden lieutenants, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed and Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, are continuing to organize strikes.

Mohammed, the alleged mastermind of the Sept. 11 attacks, has been tied to the April bombing of a synagogue in Tunisia, and al-Nashiri is suspected of organizing plots against U.S. and British warships crossing the Strait of Gibraltar and the U.S. Navy's 5th Fleet Headquarters in Bahrain.

A large-scale plot to bomb at least one American embassy in Southeast Asia on the anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks was broken up. Details of the plot haven't been released, but officials believe it was organized by leaders of Jemaah Islamiyah, a regional affiliate of al Qaeda.

A senior al Qaeda operative also revealed some details of the plot after his capture, but it is unknown if it was directed by top lieutenants in the network.

In addition, terrorist groups still have the money to conduct fresh attacks on the United States despite the aggressive campaign to financially paralyze them, Bush administration officials told Congress on Wednesday.

It was unclear if terrorism was behind Sunday's explosion that damaged the hull of a French-owned oil tanker off the coast of Yemen. Some on the ship claim the vessel was struck by a small boat that exploded, but Yemeni officials dispute that.

American officials say they aren't sure what happened, although they note that some circumstances are similar to the October 2000 attack on the USS Cole in Yemen, in which an explosives-laden boat crashed into the destroyer.

French, Yemeni and American investigators are looking into the tanker attack. Francis Taylor, the State Department's top counterterrorism official, met with Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh on Tuesday, officials said.

β€”The Associated Press

FBI Memo Outlines Surveillance Errors in Terror Probes

W A S H I N G T O N, Oct. 10 β€” FBI agents illegally videotaped suspects, intercepted e-mails without court permission and recorded the wrong phone conversations during sensitive terrorism and espionage investigations, according to an internal memorandum detailing serious lapses inside the FBI more than a year before the Sept. 11 attacks.

The blunders β€” roughly 15 over the first three months of 2000 β€” were never made public but garnered the attention of the "highest levels of management" inside the Federal Bureau of Investigation, said the memo written by senior bureau lawyers and obtained by The Associated Press.

Lawmakers reviewing FBI missteps preceding the terror attacks expressed surprise Wednesday at the extent of errors detailed in the memo, which focused on sensitive cases requiring warrants under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

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