U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Friday said that the Al-Qaeda terrorist group is behind a specific, credible but unconfirmed report of a threat to harm Americans, notably in New York and Washington, on the tenth anniversary of the September 11 attacks.
“We are meeting here in New York … with the news last night of a specific, credible but unconfirmed report that Al-Qaeda again is seeking to harm Americans and in particular to target New York and Washington,” Reuters quoted Clinton as having said in a speech in New York.
Clinton said that it was impossible to foil every plot and that Al-Qaeda was still capable of regional and international attacks.
She added, however, that Washington would wage a “relentless” campaign against the terror group and plans to set up Global Counter-Terrorism Forum to gather officials to identify threats, devise solutions and share expertise.
The group will be co-chaired by the United States and Turkey and will also include Algeria, Australia, Canada, China, Colombia, Denmark, Egypt, the European Union, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Morocco, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Pakistan, Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland, the United Arab Emirates and the United Kingdom, the State Department said.
On Thursday it was reported that U.S. security officials are on high alert over a “credible” pinpoint warning of a planned terrorist attack to be carried out on September 11.
Security personnel have suspected plans of an anniversary attack for some time. Information gathered from the home of Al-Qaeda head Osama Bin Laden, who was killed in a U.S. raid in May, lent weight to their suspicions.
But as authorities are hunting down the two or three suspects behind the possible attack threat, intelligence agencies admitted they are in the dark about the suspects’ identities.
One official told Reuters that while lacking information about the identities of potential attackers, the intelligence was noteworthy because it was the first credible information alleging a specific attack plot related to the 9/11 anniversary.
A second official said the intelligence was “not run of the mill” since, as he put it, “specific threats to the homeland don’t come in every day.”
The officials said that since no names are associated with the latest threat intelligence, it will be extremely difficult for U.S. spy and law enforcement agencies to locate any suspects. They explained that U.S. agencies decided to make the threat information public so that citizens would be extra-vigilant in reporting suspicious activity to authorities.
The two officials told Reuters the intelligence reporting alluded to the possibility of car bomb attacks in Washington or New York, but there was also uncertainty about the means.
The intelligence did not allude to threats against subways or commuter trains, one official noted.
Source material can be found at this site.