N.Y. Homes Raided in Terror Probe

By Spencer S. Hsu and Carrie Johnson
Washington Post Staff Writers
Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Federal and city counterterrorism agents raided homes in New York City early Monday after a man under surveillance for suspected ties to al-Qaeda met with people in Queens, federal officials said.

Rep. Peter T. King (N.Y.), the senior Republican on the Homeland Security Committee, said after receiving a briefing from federal authorities Monday afternoon that the suspect's visit this weekend triggered the raids.

"He was being watched, and concern grew as he met with a group of individuals in Queens over the weekend," King told ABC News on Monday in a report forwarded by his office. "The FBI went to court late last night for an emergency warrant to conduct the raids this morning."

FBI spokesman James Margolin confirmed that authorities executed search warrants at multiple locations in connection with what he called an "ongoing investigation."

Paul J. Browne, a New York deputy police commissioner, said that the activity in Flushing was part of an ongoing joint terrorism task force probe, declining further comment.

Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.), a Judiciary Committee member who also was briefed, said in a statement released by his office that authorities did not believe a threat was imminent.

"Our law enforcement officials are very good now at tracking potentially dangerous actions. This was preventive," Schumer said.

White House spokesman Nick Shapiro, speaking before Obama's Tuesday visit to New York City , said the president "has been kept fully apprised of developments" and referred all questions to the FBI.

High-level federal officials delivered briefings Monday on Capitol Hill, details of which were classified, said a spokesman for Rep. Jane Harman (D-Calif.), chairman of the House Homeland Security subcommittee on intelligence.

Sources briefed on the case said it was unclear how close any plot was to acquiring weapons or selecting a target, but several unspecified factors, including uncertainty over the scope of the threat, prompted the raids. Authorities said there were no arrests.

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