WASHINGTON – Several more banks and financial institutions were detailed as possible targets on captured terrorists' computers than what's being reported, FOX News has learned.
According to a senior defense official, the Prudential Building in Newark, N.J., Citigroup and the New York Stock Exchange in New York and the World Bank and International Monetary Fund in Washington were just a few of many buildings named on an Al Qaeda (search) laptop "recently" retrieved.
The American Stock Exchange and NASDAQ — the bulk of whose operations are in Times Square, far uptown from the Financial District — were also named, FOX News has learned.
Very specific details about United Nations (search) headquarters in midtown Manhattan were also found on this computer.
"This is not one, two or three buildings, as was reported yesterday," a senior official said.
Key financial institutions in the three cities were under heavy security Monday, one day after federal officials issued a warning that the buildings could be targets of an Al Qaeda terror attack.
"Hundreds of documents and digital photographs were found on an Al Qaeda computer," one senior official said. "There was incredible detail about these buildings. This isn't the sort of stuff you and I would have on our own laptops."
Also, according to a law enforcement bulletin issued by the FBI (search) and Department of Homeland Security (search) on Sunday, there is concern that subways and other modes of public transportation near financial institutions could be targets for terrorists.
The bulletin, obtained by FOX News, also discusses the potential use of airplanes as weapons and about a possible terror plot to conduct computer attacks.
"The elevation of the threat level in New York and New Jersey and Washington is a serious reminder, a solemn reminder, of the threat we continue to face," President Bush said at the White House Monday. "All the institutions of our government must be fully prepared for a struggle against terror that will last into the future."
Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge told FOX News' "FOX & Friends" on Monday that intelligence officials had gotten unusually detailed information from multiple sources.
Ridge said it did not appear it would be a strike with a radiological or "dirty" bomb.
"Analysis suggests in this instance they prefer a car or truck bomb that they've employed elsewhere," Ridge said.
Treasury Secretary John Snow, quick to try to reassure investors and Americans generally, said the nation's financial system operated normally in the first weekday hours of the code-orange alert.
"People around the world rightly have confidence in the U.S. financial markets," Snow said. "While we must always remain vigilant against terror, we will not be intimidated and prevented from enjoying our lives and exercising our freedoms."
Officials have warned that Usama bin Laden's Al Qaeda, blamed for the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, may launch a large-scale assault in hopes of disrupting the Nov. 2 elections and demonstrating that it remains capable of offensive actions despite international efforts to combat terrorism.
A cache of recently obtained information — including photos, drawings and written documents — indicates that Al Qaeda operatives had meticulously cased the five specified buildings.
In general, there seems to be a decent amount of awe inside the Pentagon about the treasure trove of information found in what this official described as a brilliant move of "spot tactical intelligence." Officials are also surprised that there was no information about the Pentagon found on this computer.
As for Defense Department reaction to the elevated alert level, officials said they cannot provide details as to how the military is positioning itself to respond to an internal attack, but they acknowledge that several planning procedures are in operation at present.
"We are reviewing the forces we have in place to respond to an event," one official told FOX News. "We'll adjust accordingly."
Terror Suspect’s Computer a Goldmine
FOX News confirmed that Pakistani intelligence agents discovered plans for new attacks on the United States and Britain on a computer seized during the arrest of a high-ranking Al Qaeda operative.
Pakistani officials said details were on the computer of Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani, a Tanzanian arrested July 25 after a gun battle in the eastern city of Gujrat.
But authorities also arrested another top Al Qaeda suspect, a 25-year-old computer engineer, Muhammad Naeem Noor Khan, who apparently is cooperating with investigators.
Khan was arrested July 13. Pakistani officials say he used and helped operate a secret Al Qaeda communications system where information was transferred via coded messages, the New York Times reported Monday. FOX News confirmed with U.S. officials that Khan is the second man where information came from.
In fact, Khan is key to the latest security alerts, not so much Ghailani.
U.S. intelligence officials were expressing frustration that news outlets continue to point the finger at Ghailani, with one telling FOX News: "The assumptions are ridiculous. Just because Ghailani's name was the latest to cross everyone's radar screens ... it doesn't automatically mean he's responsible for all this. Even Ridge said 'no' yesterday when asked about the Ghailani connection."
A Pakistani intelligence official told The New York Times that Khan said couriers carried handwritten messages or computer disks from senior Al Qaeda leaders in isolated border areas to hard-line religious schools in Pakistan; others carried them to Khan himself to post them on Web sites or relay them electronically.
An official said Al Qaeda's gathering of the building information took place both before and after Sept. 11, 2001.
An anonymous senior intelligence official said the intelligence indicated Al Qaeda had evaluated security in and around the five buildings, the best places for reconnaissance, how to make contact with employees who work in the buildings, traffic patterns and locations of hospitals and police departments.
The official said the Al Qaeda evaluations were so precise they included midweek pedestrian traffic counts of 14 people per minute on each side of the street for a total of 28 people. The official said he had not seen such extraordinary detail in his 24 years in intelligence work.
"Obviously, this is a war that's going to be won on intelligence," Rep. Peter Hoekstra, R-Mich., told FOX News on Monday. "We need our intelligence people to put these pieces together to make sure we can disrupt these activities to make sure there's not another attack."
FOX News’ Bret Baier, Catherine Herridge, Ian McCaleb, Liza Porteus, Anna Stolley and The Associated Press contributed to this report.