Thursday, December 16, 2010

U.S. Concerned About Terror Attacks During Holidays

Since muslims are the only people who can get on an airplane without being molested, it shouldn't be too difficult to pull something off.

While I have a lot of confidence in the FBI, janet napolitano and her group... not so much. Maybe the FBI will work twice as hard as usual to make up for napolitano's lack of skills.

Associated Press

Counterterror officials are tracking threats to the United States and Europe from Al Qaeda and affiliated groups during the holiday season, authorities said. They have not yet seen evidence of specific plots aimed at U.S. targets.

The FBI and the Homeland Security Department have alerted state and local law enforcers to be wary of suspicious behavior and to change security measures regularly to interfere with any terrorist plans. The warning was sent in a bulletin Wednesday, obtained by The Associated Press. It did not include information about specific plots or intelligence.

On Saturday, a suicide bomber blew himself up on a pedestrian street in Stockholm, Sweden, killing himself and injuring two other people. Iraqi officials say that captured insurgents said this week that the suicide bombing was part of attacks being planned by Al Qaeda against the United States and Europe during the Christmas season.

Even before the revelations from the captured Iraqi insurgents, U.S. counterterror officials were tracking threat streams from Al Qaeda operatives hiding in Pakistan and Yemen.

There is specific intelligence of other attacks being planned against Europe during the holiday season, according to U.S. officials speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss security matters. While intelligence officials have not uncovered specific details of threats aimed at the United States, they cannot be ruled out, the officials said.

Still, the spate of attempted attacks against U.S. targets in the past year -- particularly the Nigerian man charged with trying to take down an airplane last Christmas -- has U.S. officials on high alert.

"We are concerned these terrorists may seek to exploit the likely significant psychological impact of an attack targeting mass gatherings in large metropolitan areas during the 2010 holiday season, which has symbolic importance to many in the United States," the joint FBI and Homeland Security bulletin said.

The Homeland Security Department would not comment on specific intelligence. But the U.S. government has been warning Americans since October to be vigilant when they travel to and within Europe because of terror threats directed at the region.

Early this month a man from Portland, Oregon, was caught in an FBI sting operation as he allegedly planned to set off a bomb at a crowded Christmas tree lighting ceremony. And in October, Al Qaeda'sYemeni offshoot -- which also claimed responsibility for the Christmas airliner attack -- apparently tried to take down two cargo planes over the United States. That plot was foiled after officials received a tip, including the packages' tracking numbers, from Saudi Arabian intelligence.

Counterterror officials said they could not discount potential threats from other terror groups, such as Al Qaeda'soffshoots in Iraq and the Maghreb along Africa's Mediterranean coast, Pakistan and Somalia.

"Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups continue to seek innovative ways to conduct attacks and circumvent security procedures, and we remain concerned that the holiday season provides attractive opportunities for terrorists to target the homeland," the intelligence bulletin said.