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May 04, 2011

US Intelligence: Al-Qaida Considered 9-11 Anniversary Attack

U.S. officials say an initial review of documents seized from Osama bin Laden's compound shows al-Qaida considered carrying out a terrorist plot against the United States on the 10th anniversary of the September 11 attacks.

A Homeland Security Department document obtained Thursday by U.S. news organizations says al-Qaida considered an operation against trains at an unspecified location in the United States.

The document says al-Qaida thought about tampering with rail tracks so a train would fall off the tracks in a valley or over bridge.

U.S. officials say they have no evidence the plot was active.

This information appears to be the first widely circulated intelligence stemming from the raid Sunday by an elite U.S. Navy SEAL team on bin Laden's compound in the Pakistani town of Abbottabad.  In the raid, the Navy SEALs killed bin Laden and took documents and other valuable intelligence information.

On Friday, Mr. Obama will meet with members of the Navy SEAL team that carried out the attack.  The president will travel to Fort Campbell in Kentucky to personally thank the SEALs and other members of the U.S. military for their service.

President Obama has decided not to release the death photos of bin Laden, saying the graphic images would create a national security risk and could incite violence.

Nearly 3,000 people were killed in the September 11 attacks on the United States.  Al-Qaida hijackers crashed two planes into the twin towers in New York and one into the Pentagon, the headquarters of the Defense Department, minutes outside Washington.  A fourth plane went down in rural Pennsylvania after passengers fought with the hijackers.  

On Thursday, President Obama laid a wreath at the site of the destroyed World Trade Center buildings in New York to pay tribute to the thousands killed in the al-Qaida attacks.  Thousands of people lined the streets around Ground Zero, hoping to get a glimpse of Mr. Obama during his visit.

The president led a moment of silence for the victims.  He was joined by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo.  Mr. Obama also privately met with relatives of those killed.

Also Thursday, the president told firefighters the death of bin Laden sends a message around the world that the United States will never forget the September 11 attacks.

Mr. Obama made the comments while meeting with first responders at a firehouse that lost 15 men in the attacks.  He also visited a local police station whose officers were the first on the scene on September 11.

Some information for this report provided by AP.