In the summer of 2002, the FBI received videotapes from two different sources in two different countries, shot in Las Vegas – purportedly by Al Qaida operatives scouting out potential targets.
Tuns out this is something nobody wanted to know. Here is the AP story about it. The mayor claims no one ever told him – the FBI documents talk about the mayor’s concerns at the time of a negative impact on tourism.
But the FBI thought the tapes were important enough to send out to Las Vegas and invite all the major security services in the area to come watch it; city and county police, some kind of terror response/SWAT unit, the head security people at the casinos, and so forth.
Only two local cops appeared. The word came back that the casinos didn’t want to see the tapes for liability reaons. If they had advance warning yet did nothing and got hit, they would have a trememdous liability. But if they knew nothing and did nothing and were hit, their liability was less.
I have to admit, this makes a certain amount of screwy sense from the casinos’ point of view, so long as there isn’t an attack on Vegas, and they know the odds are in their favor. But the various police agencies who blew this thing off – WTF knows why? Following the lead of their casino masters? Intramural squabbling?
Anyway, the FBI or Homeland Security or whoever would have been the Big Dog at the time, they allowed this local big-money-based apathy to smother any public warning.
Just absolutely piss poor all around.