A key piece of information leading to the recent terror alerts in the United States was fabricated, it was reported today.
Senior police officials told ABC News that a claim by a captured al-Qaida member that Washington, New York or Florida would be hit by a “dirty bomb” sometime this week had proven to be a product of his imagination.
The informant had described how an al-Qaida cell operating in either Virginia or Detroit had developed a way to slip past airport scanners with dirty bombs encased in shoes, suitcases, or laptops, ABC said.
The informant reportedly cited specific targets of government buildings and religious centres.
“This piece of that puzzle turns out to be fabricated and therefore the reason for a lot of the alarm, particularly in Washington this week, has been dissipated after they found out that this information was not true,” said Vince Cannistraro, a former CIA counter-terrorism chief.
It was only after America’s threat level was raised to orange – meaning high - last week, that the informant was subjected to a lie detector polygraph test by the FBI, officials told ABC News.
“This person did not pass,” Cannistraro said.
Despite the fabricated report, there are no plans to change the US threat level. Officials said other intelligence has been validated and that the high level of precautions is fully warranted.