The nation's top law enforcement officials, saying they are convinced al Qaeda is planning an attack on the United States in the coming months, issued an urgent plea for information about seven people who they said could be involved in such an effort.
FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III asked for the public's help in tracking down six men and one woman associated with al Qaeda who either are familiar with the United States or have a history of involvement in attacks on U.S. interests.
The seven include Adam Yahiye Gadahn, 25, a Southern California convert to Islam linked to top al Qaeda captive Abu Zubaida. Officials said they do not know whether any of the seven is in the United States or participating in attack planning.
"We need the public -- both in the United States and overseas -- to be on the lookout for these seven individuals," Mueller said at a packed news conference.
The six others the government is searching for are Adnan G. El Shukrijumah, a Saudi native who lived in South Florida in the mid-1990s; Aafia Siddiqui, a Pakistani woman who has a doctorate and studied at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani, a Tanzanian under indictment in New York for his alleged involvement in the 1998 embassy bombings in East Africa; Fazul Abdullah Mohammed of the Comoros Islands, also indicted in the embassy bombings; Amer El-Maati, a Canadian citizen born in Kuwait; and Abderraouf Jdey, a Canadian citizen born in Tunisia who appeared in a "martyrdom" video recovered in Afghanistan.
Officials said Americans should be observant but that the information about the threat is not precise enough to warrant an increase in the color-coded terrorism threat level.
-- Susan Schmidt and John Mintz