Atlanta May Have Been Target, Feds Say

By Melanie Arter | July 7, 2008 | 8:19 PM EDT

( - Federal investigators say they have reason to believe Atlanta may have been a target by the terrorists responsible for the carnage at the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, press reports say.

Officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity, told the Associated Press that information obtained during FBI interviews of people who knew the hijackers indicated that the city had been chosen for an attack.

Investigators say they're searching for 100 people they want to question in connection with the attacks.

Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), the top Republican on the Senate Intelligence Committee, declined to discuss what he learned from intelligence briefings, but he said Atlanta was a likely target and that other cities may remain in danger.

"Atlanta is a big transportation hub, the largest in the United States, the busiest airport in the United States. It would have to be a target for any terrorist effort," Shelby said. "You've got to assume there was probably more planned, maybe for the aftershock."

He praised authorities for immediately closing down all airports Tuesday, but Shelby added: "Even if they (terrorists) lie low for a few weeks, that doesn't mean they won't come back, because they will; they will until we destroy them."

No arrests have been made so far in the investigation, but a list of over 100 people has been distributed to police departments across the country, as well as the Federal Aviation Administration, border patrols and FBI field offices, Attorney General John Ashcroft said.

"We believe they may have information that could be helpful to the investigation," he said. The FBI released the names of the 19 men who hijacked the 4 planes Tuesday.

One of them, 33-year-old Mohamed Atta of Hollywood and Coral Springs, Fla., was identified by German authorities as being linked to an Islamic fundamentalist group that planned attacks on American targets.