Warning that Al Qaeda is plotting a deadly attack this summer on U.S. soil, the FBI reinvigorated a manhunt Wednesday for seven terrorism suspects and launched a massive canvass likely to target Muslims in the United States in the hopes of gathering intelligence.
A steady stream of credible new information from multiple sources suggests that Al Qaeda is nearly ready to attack the United States again, Attorney General John Ashcroft said Wednesday at a news conference with FBI Director Robert Mueller.
“This disturbing intelligence indicates Al Qaeda’s specific intention to hit the United States hard.”
The threat information does not contain specific details about a time, place or method of attack, and Homeland Security Director Tom Ridge said there are no plans to raise the nation’s threat level, which is yellow, or elevated.
The FBI will begin interviews nationwide. Such sweeps in the past have focused on Muslim and Arab communities, and officials did not dispute that a large number of the interviews will again take place there. Mueller and Ashcroft declined to say which communities the interviews would focus on, saying only that they will be driven by intelligence.
Detroit FBI spokesman David Brooks said his office had no other details on the plans…
“It’s part of the ’round up the usual suspects’ mentality,” said Ibrahim Hooper of the Council on American-Islamic Relations in Washington. “When you don’t have any other leads, you gather up the Muslims.”