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U.S. Denies Report That Israel Warned of Militants' Entry

g and compass

L.A. Times

U.S. Denies Report That Israel Warned of Militants' Entry

By RICHARD A. SERRANO, Times Staff Writer
September 21, 2001


An article Thursday reported that in August, Israeli intelligence warned U.S. officials that terrorists were preparing a large-scale attack in this country. The article cited as its source a high-ranking law enforcement official. The Times has since learned that the official's account was based on a British newspaper report, not on independent information.

WASHINGTON--A report in The Times that Israel warned the United States last month that hundreds of Islamic militants were slipping into the country was erroneous, officials said Thursday.

The Times reported Thursday that Israel's intelligence agency warned the CIA and the FBI in August that as many as 200 suspected terrorists were slipping into the United States with indications that they planned to strike a "large-scale target." The Times cited an unnamed senior law enforcement official in Washington as its source.

But the CIA flatly denied the story, and FBI officials said they knew of no such advisory.

"There was no such warning," CIA spokesman Bill Harlow said. "Allegations that there was are complete and utter nonsense."

The law enforcement official who was the source of The Times' story said Thursday that his information came from an intelligence report citing a British newspaper account, not independent data.

He said he had overlooked the information's origin when he first relayed it.

The Sunday Telegraph this week reported that Israeli intelligence officials had warned their U.S. counterparts last month that large-scale terrorist attacks on highly visible targets were imminent. The newspaper said that two experts with Mossad, the Israeli intelligence service, traveled to Washington in August to alert the CIA and the FBI.

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