Alleged 2002 Al-Qaida Hijack Plot Targeted LA Skyscraper - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

2/9/06-Washington, D.C.

Alleged 2002 Al-Qaida Hijack Plot Targeted LA Skyscraper

President Bush is offering details of a hijack plot to strike an L-A skyscraper in 2002 -- and he says it shows how America's allies are helping thwart al-Qaida's plans.

Revealing newly declassified details, the president told a National Guard audience the plot was hatched by Khalid Sheik Mohammed (HAH'-leed shayk moh-HAH'-med), the Nine-Eleven mastermind captured in Pakistan in 2003.

According to Bush, Mohammed recruited volunteers from Southeast Asia to hijack a plane using a shoe bomb. The target was the tallest building on the West Coast -- what's now known as U-S Bank Tower. He says the volunteers even met with Osama bin-Laden.

But Bush says the plot was broken up after a raid by a Southeast Asian country he didn't name.

He says the raid is one of many reasons al-Qaida is badly "weakened" and "fractured". But he warns it's still lethal.

Meantime, aides are denying that release of the information is aimed at shoring up support for Bush's embattled domestic eavesdropping program.

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