Skip to comments.Alerts Issued for District, N.Y. (Washington Post)
Posted on 08/01/2004 11:08:13 PM PDT by conservative in nyc
The federal government raised the terror alert level yesterday to orange for the financial services sectors in New York City, Washington and Newark, citing the discovery of remarkably detailed intelligence showing that al Qaeda operatives have been plotting for years to blow up specific buildings with car or truck bombs.
U.S. officials said the operatives noted that one of the buildings had three male security guards but that only one carried a weapon. "Getting up to the higher floors is not very difficult if you go there midweek, as I did," one operative added.
For one building, potential attackers discussed how visitors must sign a book telling where they are going, but "on Sunday there is no security. This is not the case on Saturday."
The operatives focused on structural features of the targets that might "prevent the buildings from toppling down," including the thickness of window glass. They discussed separate plans to hijack oil tankers but warned that some contain tracking devices, officials said.
Operatives also intensively monitored employees of the targeted buildings, noting the locations of employee offices in relation to parking garages and identifying local bars and restaurants where employees of the institutions could be met, officials said.
One senior U.S. official likened the new intelligence to a homeowner learning that someone had broken into his house years ago and had been monitoring the occupants all that time.
(Excerpt) Read more at washingtonpost.com ...
Click on the link for more; I tried to excerpt the most specific, previously unposted information from the article.
The terrorists know that of they scare the people, Kerry could benefit and then the US will give them what they want.
Apparently the Citibank building is a prime target, due to its shoddy architecture and the ease of knocking all 50+ stories of it down.
R. C. Bagley & Associates Ltd. Commodity Consultants & Brokers 29 July 2004
UPDATE: RECORD DERIVATIVES GROWTH UPS SYSTEM RISK
In one of those complicated reports that we follow (because of our negative view on derivatives) I note that the Office of Comptroller of the Currency within the U.S. Treasury Department disclosed in a report recently that U.S. commercial banks' derivatives holdings outstanding had leapt to $76.5 trillion by the end of first-quarter 2004, a level 24% greater than that of the first quarter of 2003. Bottom line: never has the American banking system appeared so vulnerable and ripe for the potential of a systemic meltdown triggered by a chain-reaction derivatives failure. Heck, just look at the size of the exposure?! A senior official of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco warned of heightened "systemic risk concerns" due to set-up bank mergers, by which a handful of giant banks have consolidated in their hands, a large amount of U.S. bank assets. The unsaid is obvious: The same process has consolidated in the large banks an immense volume of highly leveraged derivatives, some in gold seriously underwater.
In a world financial crisis characterized by growing inflation in oil and commodity prices, with rising interest rates to boot, any instability could puncture the world derivatives market, valued at $300-400 trillion. Since derivatives "bets" are electronic book-keeping entries, this instability would spread around the world at the speed of light. When such a destabilization hit in September 1998, with the LTCM hedge fund crisis, remember how the system came within a hair's breadth of a global crash.
Not only have U.S. commercial bank derivatives holdings grown by 24% in the past year. Consider this comparison: In first-quarter of 1995, U.S. commercial banks held $17.5 trillion in derivatives; today, they hold $75.6 trillion, a 4.5-fold increase in less than a decade. Once upon a time, the American banking system extended loans to productive agriculture and industry. Now, it is a vast betting machine, gaming on market distortions of interest rates, stocks, currencies, etc. Of bank-held derivatives 91% are Over-The-Counter (specially tailored to financial institutions, often having exotic and complex features, and not traded on standard exchanges).
How big is the exposure? JP Morgan Chase Bank (JPMC) dominates the U.S. derivatives market, having $39.6 trillion in derivatives outstanding in the first quarter, up from $36.8 trillion at the end of 2003. JPMC Bank alone has derivatives approaching four times the U.S. Gross Domestic Product of $11.5 trillion. Next come Bank of America and Citibank, with $14.9 trillion and $14.4. trillion in derivatives, respectively. The OCC reports that the top seven American derivatives banks hold 96% of the U.S. banking system's notional derivatives holding. If these banks suffer serious impairment of their derivatives holdings, kiss the banking system goodbye. No???
Overall, according to OCC data, one can see the size of the inverted pyramid that characterizes U.S. banks' derivatives holdings: The banks hold $76.5 trillion in derivatives, against $7.8 trillion in bank assets, and $715 billion in bank equity. Bank equity equals - and covers - only 0.9% of derivatives holdings and there is more. There are also derivatives held by U.S. investment banks and corporations not accounted for by the OCC. One could easily estimate that total derivatives holdings held by all U.S. institutions exceed $85 trillion. Derivatives are growing globally (and we have to expect shakier financial institutions to join the AAA pedigree which will make for rougher waters for all): The Bank for International Settlements (BIS), in its recent Quarterly Review, placed total holdings by financial institutions worldwide at $233.9 trillion, at the end of the first quarter of 2004. Of these, $197.2 trillion (84%) are Over-The Counter, and rest exchange-traded. However, the BIS significantly understates the size of derivatives outstanding, through such techniques as "netting," to disguise the true dimension of the danger. I think one can estimate that financial institutions of the world's leading nations hold between $300 and $350 trillion in derivatives outstanding, and that is no exaggeration.
The scale of U.S. and western bank mega-mergers now taking place including Japan, makes it all more worrisome. But just look at America, until this year, Citigroup was the only trillion- dollar-asset banking organization in the United States. Now there are two more: Bank of America, which merged with FleetBoston; and JP Morgan Chase, which mergered with Ohio- based Bank One on July 1. On June 18, Simon Kwan of the San Francisco Federal Reserve Bank asserted, in a highly unusual warning in the Bank's Economic letter, "The over- growing scale of bank mergers raises challenging policy questions, including banking concentration at the national level and systemic risk concerns." He wrote, "When banking activities are concentrated in a very few large banking companies, shocks to these individual companies could have repercussions to the financial system and the real economy." The share of commercial banking assets held by the top ten U.S. commercial banks has risen from about 30% in 1995, to about 45% today. The U.S. is moving towards the dangerous British model, where six banks dominate the commercial banking system top-down. The even more concentrated derivatives, basically held by seven banks, could act as a detonator charge for explosion.
Recently the Financial Times of London quoted Bill Gross, head of Pimco, the largest bond- trading fund in the world: "Too much debt, geopolitical risk, and several bubbles have created a very unstable environment which can turn any minute more than any point in the past 20 or 30 years, there's potential for a reversal." The grey clouds are getting darker, the winds only need to kick up and we'll have one heck of a financial cyclone in the making.
R. Colt Bagley III
something feels wrong... could the target be in LA or Chicago?? what if they are being fed disinformation?
Who knows? We are being fed snippets only, in the on-going inforwar. But the NY banks are a logical target, a critical node in the world economoy.
I hope they are diligent. I understand they had meetings all night on Friday and Saturday nights. How often do bureaucrats do that? =o)
Not often. I think AQ will try multiple simultaneous truck bomb attacks on NYC bridges, tunnels, and banks. Who knows if this ever got past the planning stages, or if they even have terrorists, trucks etc in the area preparing? Stay tuned.
I am pretty sure we have a lot of terrorists, I just wonder if they can carry out the attack.
That's the big question. Some ops are so simple (burning vast forests etc) that it would take no training or logistics, just desire. For that matter, hijacking a gasoline tanker and driving it into the lobby of a major corporate HQ might not be too hard either. You just need a suicidal jihad truck driver with a pistol.
I don't think we have the political will to do whats necessary. We won't even stop the flood over the borders.
Not until a 9-11 or Madrid is tracked to the open border.
Politicians and bureaucrats make me sick.
whatever happened to Sabertooth?
Hey folks! Listen to this warning. Most of the others that have been given since 9-11 were groundless. This one is not. Something is afoot. There is a level of Internet activity that has not occurred since August of 2001, and it has Islamic footprints all over it.
Don't live in fear, but do be aware of your surroundings. Don't try to put a political spin on this. They intend to kill Americans, even those too young to vote. It's time to pull together, not apart.
(I posted this same comment to a related thread. Sorry for the duplication, but this is so very important.)
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