Bill Gertz: Terror Threat Intelligence Not New

A confidential letter was found from terror leader Abdelmalek Droukdel spelling out the terror network's blueprint / AP

A confidential letter was found from terror leader Abdelmalek Droukdel spelling out the terror network’s blueprint / AP

Intelligence regarding al Qaeda plans to attack U.S. embassies, officials, and interests last Sunday was known for months by U.S. intelligence agencies but was used only recently to trigger the closure of embassies and issuance of public warnings of impending attacks.

Al Qaeda “chatter” about coming terrorist operations, mainly against 22 U.S. embassies and consulates, and threats to attack or bomb officials in the Middle East and elsewhere was widely reported in classified intelligence reports over several months. The report said an attack was planned for Sunday, although no attack was carried out.

The intelligence was based on electronic surveillance of al Qaeda communications indicating some type of spectacular bombing or other attacks was being planned and would in fact be carried out very soon.

The timing of the administration’s announced closure of numerous U.S. embassies in the Middle East has raised concerns among some U.S. officials that the Obama administration is politicizing intelligence to distract attention from the Benghazi and other scandals.

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