Bloomberg Warns Of Possible New York Terror Threat
September 09, 2011
Security officials are on a heightened security alert in New York City and Washington D.C. as the 10th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks approaches.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security says there is "specific, credible but unconfirmed threat information" about new possible terrorist attacks on Sunday -- the anniversary of the Al Qaeda attacks that brought down the World Trade Center towers in New York and damaged the Pentagon in Washington.
The White House has confirmed that President Barack Obama has been briefed on the situation and that he has also the boosting of counterterrorism efforts.
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg told a late night press conference on September 8 that New York's police department "is deploying additional resources… some of which you will notice and some of which you will not."
Threat Is 'Credible But Not Corroborated'
"As we approach the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, the NYPD [New York Police Dept.], the FBI, and the entire intelligence community, have been on heightened alert because we know the terrorists view the anniversary as an opportunity to strike again," he said.
"Now, the threat at this moment has not been corroborated. I want to stress that. It is credible, but it has not been corroborated."
Although there was no immediate change to the official national security threat level, authorities say they are considering such a move.
Meanwhile, New York authorities immediately announced sweeping extra security measures that include vehicle checkpoints and searches at the entrances to mass transportation systems and tunnels.
City Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said the enhanced security measures include police "trained in heavy weapons positioned outside of Manhattan to respond citywide."
Fears Of Bomb-Laden Vehicles
Federal officials in Washington, meanwhile, said the potential terrorism threat includes the possibility of bomb-laden vehicles being used against targets either in Washington, D.C. or New York.
Earlier, US military bases had raised their security alert levels, but officials would not say whether this was related to the new threat report.
U.S. officials have warned of a possible backlash following the U.S. commando raid in May that killed Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden at his secret compound in Pakistan.
According to documents and computer files seized at bin Laden's compound, the Al-Qaeda network was considering attacks in the United States to coincide with the 10th anniversary of the September 11 attacks.
Calls For A Global Counterterrorism Treaty
United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has used the approaching 10th anniversary of the attacks to renew his call for a global counterterrorism treaty.
The UN has more than a dozen separate treaties which cover terrorism -- including bombing, hijacking, use of weapons of mass destruction and terrorist financing.
But during the past 10 years, negotiations on a comprehensive global convention have repeatedly broken down amid arguments over what constitutes terrorism and who is a terrorist.
Ban, speaking on a visit to Australia, said the failure to reach agreement on a global treaty was regrettable, adding that "terrorism cannot be justified under any circumstances."
Today several high-ranking U.S. officials and former officials will be making remarks commemorating 9/11.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is delivering an address in New York and Dick Cheney, who was vice president at the time of the attacks, is to speak in Washington about the lessons learned.
Despite frequent threats and a string of failed plots, Al-Qaeda has not succeeded in mounting a major attack on U.S. soil since the attacks of 2001, when it hijacked passenger planes and crashed them into New York's World Trade Center, the Pentagon and a Pennsylvania field, killing nearly 3,000 people.
compiled from agency reports
Copyright (c) 2011. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.
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