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FBI memo: National forests al-Qaida target

by Jon Robinson (webmaster) |

National forests in the West were considered targets for al-Qaida attacks, according to an FBI memo to law enforcement agencies dated June 25.

A senior al-Qaida detainee told federal investigators he had developed a plan to set midsummer forest fires in Colorado, Montana, Utah and Wyoming, according to the document, obtained by The Arizona Republic.

"The detainee believed that significant damage to the U.S. economy would result and once it was realized that the fires were terrorist acts, U.S. citizens would put pressure on the U.S. government to change its policies," the memo said.

The unidentified detainee said he hoped to create several large, catastrophic wildfires at once, mimicking the destructive fires that swept across Australia in 2002, according to the memo.

The Forest Service took note of the warning, a spokeswoman said, but didn't really change any of its policies or operating patterns.