MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- The FBI is monitoring suspected terror cells in Minneapolis and several other U.S. cities, based partly on U.S. intelligence and information from al-Qaida members in custody, a terrorism expert said Tuesday.
"They're clearly monitoring a whole variety of suspected cells in the United States," Neil Livingstone, a Washington-based security consultant with close ties to U.S. intelligence agencies, told the Star Tribune of Minneapolis.
ABC-TV News reported several dozen of the suspected cell members are U.S. citizens who underwent terrorist training at al-Qaida camps in Afghanistan in the late 1990s.
ABC reported that Minneapolis is one of nine cities FBI agents are focusing on in the search for al-Qaida cells. The rest are New York, Boston, Portland, Ore., Houston, Seattle, Miami and two cities where men believed tied to Osama bin Laden's network were arrested: Detroit and Buffalo, N.Y.
ABC said documents found in Afghanistan mentioned the U.S. cities where cells are believed to be located.
Meanwhile, Minnesota law enforcement officials had little to say about a terrorist investigation in the Twin Cities, the scene last year of the arrest of alleged Sept. 11 conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui and the shutdown of several money transfer operations with alleged terrorist links.
The FBI's local Joint Terrorism Task Force "continues to investigate numerous counter-terrorism matters, and we do not comment on the specifics of those cases or specifics of any operations," said spokesman Paul McCabe.
State Public Safety Commissioner Charlie Weaver said that he is aware that "there may be an investigation into a possible terrorism cell" in Minnesota, but that he knew none of the specifics.
Hennepin County Sheriff Patrick McGowan knows nothing about the alleged surveillance, although he has helped to coordinate the task force, said spokeswoman Roseann Campagnoli.
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