‘Credible’ Threat in the U.S. on 9/11’s 10th Anniversary

The Homeland Security Department said Thursday they were investigating a “specific, credible but unconfirmed” information about a potential attack in the country coinciding with the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attack.

A senior administration official said that they have very recently received a detailed al-Qaeda truck or car bomb plot that was aimed at bridges or tunnels in New York or Washington. This came in late Wednesday night and was the first tip of an “active plot” targeting that day.

 

In the past 24 hours, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) has developed information indicating that at least 3 individuals, including a U.S. citizen, entered the U.S. in August with the intent to launch the said vehicle-borne attack. According to the report, the suspected terrorists were said to be coming from Afghanistan, and traveled through at least one other country. This plot was allegedly initiated by new al-Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri, Osama Bin Laden’s successor.

In addition to that, the report also stated that two rental trucks went missing from Kansas City, Missouri, and that U.S. law enforcement agencies are now in search of these trucks nationwide. However, the connection between the missing trucks and the alleged plot has not yet been confirmed. In the recent weeks prior to the 9/11 anniversary, the Pentagon has ordered an increase in the security at military bases in the U.S. According to Pentagon Spokesman George Little, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has approved a request by U.S. Northern Command to raise the Force Protection Condition (FPCON) through Sunday.

The FPCON is a system overseen by the Pentagon which describes the measures needed to be taken by security agencies in response to different levels of threats against military facilities. Little emphasized that this move was not specifically due to the said threat, but it was a “prudent and precautionary measure.” Documents recovered from the compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, where Bin Laden was killed mentioned September 11, and terrorists have recently shown interest in anniversaries.

Various commemorative events will be held in New York City, the Pentagon in Northern Virginia, and Shanksville, Pennsylvania, where 3,000 civilians were killed when terrorists hijacked two passenger planes and crashed them into the twin tower of the New York City World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. President Barack Obama will also deliver remarks on Sunday night at a memorial concert at the Kennedy Center in Washington.

“It’s accurate that there is specific, credible but unconfirmed threat information,” said Homeland Security Spokesman Matt Chandler in a statement. “As we always do before important dates like the anniversary of 9/11, we will undoubtedly get more reporting in the coming days. Sometimes this reporting is credible and warrants intense focus, other times it lacks credibility and is highly unlikely to be reflective of real plots underway.”

“Regardless, we all take threat reporting seriously, and we have taken, and will continue to take, all steps necessary to mitigate any threats that arise,” Chandler continued in his statement. “We continue to ask the American people to remain vigilant as we head into the weekend.”

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said they would be “ever vigilant” on Sunday’s anniversary. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said the country remains at a “heightened state of vigilance” and security measures are being implemented to detect and prevent terror plots, in case they occur.