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FBI Pursuing Possible Links to U.S.


FBI Director Mueller at the Aug. 10 press conference

FBI Director Muller at the Aug. 10 press conference in Washington, D.C. In the background is Kip Hawley, assistant secretary for the Transportation Security Administration. (AP Photo)

On 8/10, Director Robert Mueller joined Department of Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff and Attorney General Alberto Gonzales in a press briefing on the arrest by British authorities of 21 extremists believed to be actively planning a terrorist attack on U.S. passenger aircraft flights to this country.

"This plot appears to have been well-planned and well-advanced, with a significant number of operatives," said Secretary Chertoff. "The terrorists planned to carry the components of the bombs, including liquid explosive ingredients and detonating devices disguised as beverages, electronic devices, or other common objects. While this operation was centered in Great Britain, it was sophisticated, it had a lot of members, and it was international in scope."

While the FBI and its partners don't have specific information indicating that an attack is planned within the U.S., that possibility can't be discounted. In response to the arrests, the U.S. raised the threat level for domestic and international flights and issued its highest terrorism alert for commercial flights from Britain to this nation.

What's the FBI's role in the continuing case? Most importantly, to make sure no there are no attacks or plots planned in the U.S. aligned with the extremists.

To that end: We're aggressively looking for and pursuing potential connections to the U.S. and U.S. persons, working closely with British authorities and partners throughout the national and international law enforcement and intelligence community. Our more than 100 Joint Terrorism Task Forces nationwide are operating at a heightened level, tracking down every available lead and shred of intelligence arising from the case.

We're also sharing intelligence and working with our partners here and overseas to track down any possible connections from the plot to known terrorist groups, cells, or individuals in the U.K., U.S., or elsewhere. We have supported—and will continue to support-the ongoing investigation by British authorities.

Resources: Department of Homeland Security | FBI National Security Branch | Help Prevent Terrorist Attacks