Boo!: Al Qaeda planning summer attacks?

Vigilance urged around July Fourth holiday

By Nobel Johns

While most Americans are trying to put a brave face on the possibilities of another terrorists’ strike on our Homeland, the hard reality is that most Americans are afraid to death because they know the enemy is among them. And like the Trojan Horse, America let the enemy in!

Intelligence gathered in recent weeks has raised concerns that terrorists may try to strike against the United States this summer, according to U.S. officials.

There are "a lot of indications that something is up," one U.S. intelligence official said, but none suggesting what targets al Qaeda may hope to attack.

The level of chatter overheard in the monitoring of individuals suspected of ties to al Qaeda and other groups has been high, officials said, as it was before the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon.

One difference now is that news media are reporting on security preparations for July Fourth festivities, which might have a tendency to create a self-fulfilling prophecy in raising the apparent threat level, one official said.

U.S. officials said they have no evidence an attack is planned this week.

Threat level remains at yellow

This week's FBI intelligence bulletin to state and local law enforcement agencies is all but certain to urge extra security precautions for the holiday, Bush administration officials said Tuesday. Who has any confidence in the intelligence from the FBI today? we know they're dumb and stupid, and will eventually get everybody in this country killed.

FBI bulletins are sent each Wednesday as part of the government's effort to better coordinate counterterrorism activities of federal, state and local law enforcement agencies.

The last two weekly updates -- on June 19 and 26 -- recommended that 18,000 law enforcement agencies that receive the intelligence bulletin be on alert for the possibility of terrorist activity on or around July Fourth.

Senior Bush administration officials, including Homeland Security Director Tom Ridge and Attorney General John Ashcroft, met Monday at the White House to discuss the latest information on terrorist threats.

There is no specific or credible intelligence that warrants raising the nation's terrorist threat advisory level from its yellow or elevated status, administration officials said.

According to the Office of Homeland Security's five-step, color-coded threat assessment, yellow is the midpoint color, meaning the government considers the nation to be at a "significant risk of terrorist attacks."  

Orange, or high, is the next level -- meaning the government considers there to be a "high risk of terrorist attack." Red, or severe, is the highest alert status.

In addition, security precautions are in force at key government and other installations in the Washington area around Independence Day, officials said.

For example, a Secret Service source said additional steps are being taken around the White House and for officials and installations under the agency's protection, "but nothing that should be visible to the eye and nothing that is in response to anything other than a sense of caution."

The State Department on Monday issued a fresh advisory telling U.S. citizens living or traveling overseas to consider the risk of terrorism, but that advisory runs through October 1 and is not directly related to any indications of a higher risk for Americans overseas on or around July Fourth.

Back to home page