CIA: Al Qaida targeted members of Congress with access to 3 nuclear labs

By Bill Gertz and Rowan Scarborough
The Washington Times
November 12, 2004 Friday
INSIDE THE RING

The U.S. government this week relaxed its warning of a terrorist threat to financial centers in Washington and New York. The decision led to a lessening of the security posture on Capitol Hill, where barriers have blocked traffic at checkpoints for months.

Intelligence officials tell us one of the strange bits of threat information obtained by the CIA was that al Qaeda had targeted 24 members of Congress for assassination. The intelligence report, according to officials who have read it, said that al Qaeda had picked the congressmen because they had access to one of the three Energy Department national laboratories, including the Los Alamos, Lawrence Livermore and Sandia facilities.

Intelligence officials said there was no explanation for why the terror group was targeting the members linked to the laboratories. The intelligence reports indicated that al Qaeda would attack using explosives-laden vehicles, hijacked tanker fuel trucks and hijacked helicopters.

Fortunately, the threat did not materialize. Some officials believe the CIA was fooled by at least one source who claimed that an attack by al Qaeda would be timed to coincide with the Nov. 2 elections. The source later was found to have been bogus, officials said.