Al-Qaida chief’s message, other factors, led to embassy closures

WASHINGTON (AP) — More details are emerging about an intercepted al-Qaida message and the Obama administration’s decision to close some embassies in the Mideast and North Africa.

The communication was between al-Qaida chief Ayman al-Zawahri (AY’-muhn ahl-ZWAH’-ree) and his deputy in Yemen about plans for a major terror attack.

A U.S. intelligence official and a Mideast diplomat said al-Zawahri’s message was picked up several weeks ago and appeared to initially target Yemeni interests. An official said the message was sent to Nasser al-Wahishi, the head of the terror network’s organization, based in Yemen, known as al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula.

Officials say the threat was expanded to include American or other Western sites abroad. Lawmakers have said it was a massive plot in the final stages, but they have offered no specifics. They also won’t say whether the intercept was by the CIA, the National Security Agency, the Defense Intelligence Agency or one of the other intelligence agencies.

They also say the decision to shutter diplomatic facilities was based on a broad swath of information, not just the intercept.

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