Al-Qaida postponed
New Mexico attack

By WND Staff

Authorities say they forced possible elements of al-Qaida operating in New Mexico to postpone an attack in the state or California in May.

“The attack was, I guess you could say, quashed because of increased security measures that law enforcement and other agencies had taken,” FBI special agent Bill Elwell told the Albuquerque Journal. “It became too much of a risk for them to continue.”

Intelligence about the attack “was very nonspecific in scope, in times, dates or location,” Elwell said, noting authorities found out about the plan after May.

The agent told the paper he could not give specific details but said intelligence revealed terrorist elements “had discussed that they had to postpone an attack.”

The New Mexico Department of Public Safety was informed Thursday of possible al-Qaida elements in the state, said spokesman Peter Olson. But the FBI report, sent to local law enforcement agencies in New Mexico and California, gave no specific threat information or instructions, the Journal said.

Elwell said he had nothing definitive on when the postponed attack might occur, but the FBI is “telling law enforcement to keep vigilant.”

The FBI wants to reassure local law enforcment that everyone is “out there is doing what they need to be doing, our security is working,” Elwell said.

Gov. Bill Richardson said there is no evidence that the terror threat level should be raised in New Mexico.

“My Homeland Security director is in close contact with the FBI as part of an ongoing effort to counter the threat of terrorist cells in the region,” Richardson said in a statement from Boston, where he was presiding over the Democratic National Convention.

The Journal reported that while law enforcement officials aren’t officially saying what terrorists might want to attack in New Mexico, the state is home to military installations, national research laboratories and miles of oil and gas pipelines.

But military bases said Thursday they weren’t aware of specific threats to their facilities and weren’t changing security levels in light of the FBI intelligence report.

Sen. Pete Domenici, R-N.M., a member of the Senate Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee, urged New Mexicans in a written statement to remain calm.

“Citizens should stay alert, as they have been since Sept. 11, and report any suspicious activity to law enforcement,” he said.