Attorney General John Ashcroft confirmed yesterday that U.S. natural gas pipelines and facilities could be the target of a future terrorist attack. According to information received earlier this month by the FBI from “a source of undetermined reliability,” Osama bin Laden has okayed an attack on U.S. energy sources in the event that he or the head of the Taliban is captured or killed. Natural gas companies are taking measures to increase security, a daunting task given the more than 260,000 miles of gas pipelines, millions of miles of local distribution lines, and hundreds of pumping stations in the U.S.