The snippets reported in the media sound more like ideological encouragement than operational orders, but the mention of Los Angeles and other cities came in the context of calls by Osama bin Laden to kill as many Americans as possible. From AP:
Deep in hiding, his terror organization becoming battered and fragmented, Osama bin Laden kept pressing followers to find new ways to hit the U.S., officials say, citing his private journal and other documents recovered in last week's raid.
Strike smaller cities, bin Laden suggested. Target trains as well as planes. If possible, strike on significant dates, such as the Fourth of July and the upcoming 10th anniversary of the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Above all, kill as many Americans as possible in a single attack.
Though he was out of the public eye and al-Qaida seemed to be weakening, bin Laden never yielded control of his worldwide organization, U.S. officials said Wednesday. His personal, handwritten journal and his massive collection of computer files reveal his hand at work in every recent major al-Qaida threat, including plots in Europe last year that had travelers and embassies on high alert, two officials said....
He was well aware of U.S. counterterrorist efforts and schooled his followers in working around them, the messages to his followers show. Don't limit attacks to New York City, he said in his writings. Consider other areas such as Los Angeles or smaller cities. Spread out the targets.
Michael Downing, commanding officer of the LAPD's counter-terrorism and special operations bureau, in the LAT: "Los Angeles was on the target list for Al Qaeda."