When the Justice Department (search) obtained two videos suggesting terrorists had cased Las Vegas casinos, the discussions didn't center on public alerts or heightened security. Rather, authorities worried about the effects on tourism and the casinos' legal liabilities, internal memos show.
One of the tapes, found in Spain in 2002, shows Al Qaeda's (search) European operatives casing Las Vegas casinos in 1997, engaging in casual conversation that included an apparent reference to Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the mastermind of the Sept. 11 (search), 2001, attacks on the United States.
The other tape found in a Detroit terror cell's apartment had eerily similar footage of the MGM Grand, Excalibur and New York, New York casinos — three hotels within a short distance of each other on the Las Vegas strip with a combined total of 11,000 rooms.
Though the FBI offered, most local law enforcement and casino security officers declined an invitation to view the footage after it was obtained in 2002, according to the memos and one of the prosecutors in the Detroit case.
One document obtained by The Associated Press quotes a federal prosecutor in Las Vegas as saying the city's mayor was concerned about the "deleterious effect on the Las Vegas tourism industry" if the evidence became public.
Terror threats: do you want to know?
A sample of your responses:
An informed citizen is an alert citizen. I certainly do want to know. The more people who know, the more people are alert and aware.
Yes, we do need to know. This is how the whole country can be of help as the President asked. Yes, we are all watching the moves of others however, when we know there is a threat out there, everyone would be that much more vigilant.
While it would be important to let me know that there have been threats from the terrorists, I do not think it is necessary for the media to inform me, and the terrorists, just what our government will be doing to counteract the terrorists. I think that it is sufficient to say that our government will do everything possible to protect us and leave the terrorists wondering what steps will be taken.
This reminds me of the part in “Jaws” where the mayor didn't want to tell the public that a shark was in the area and had already killed someone. It all comes down to the all-mighty dollar, doesn't it? The public wants to know.
The threat level is meaningless to me. I get all the news I need to know from Fox News.
I for one want to know if a threat goes out. This is my country and although I am an aging American woman that cannot fight side by side in Iraq, I can surely stand strong here at home.
I appreciate the different terror threat levels. Even after 9/11 we Americans tend to get complacent. Every time the threat level is upgraded, it snaps me to attention. I become more observant, more alert and more willing to report anything questionable.
The Woodlands, TX
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