"Specific" terror threat triggers alert

WASHINGTON (AP) - U.S. officials said Thursday they were
investigating a credible but unconfirmed threat that al-Qaida was
planning to use a car bomb to target bridges or tunnels in New York
City or Washington to coincide with the 10th anniversary of the
Sept. 11 attacks, the first tip of an "active plot" around that
The Homeland Security Department said the threat is credible and
specific but unconfirmed. The nation's terror alert level has not
changed, but raising it was under consideration Thursday night.
Law enforcement officials were investigating three people who
recently entered the U.S. The threat was received by the U.S.
intelligence community late Wednesday night, officials said.
"There is specific, credible but unconfirmed threat
information," said Janice Fedarcyk, the assistant director in
charge of the FBI's New York division. "As we always do before
important dates like the anniversary of 9/11, we will undoubtedly
get more reporting in the coming days."
James McJunkin, the assistant FBI director in the Washington
field office, said his agents weren't seeking any particular
"There's no named individual," he told reporters in a
late-night news conference.
Security has been enhanced around the country in the weeks
leading up to the 10th anniversary. Law enforcement officials have
been wary, particularly after information gleaned from Osama bin
Laden's compound in May indicated that al-Qaida had considered
attacking the U.S. on the anniversary and other important dates.
The threat came in a single piece of information and was so
specific - and came at such a time of already heightened alert -
that it could not be ignored. The officials described the threat to
The Associated Press on condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive
security matters.
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg told reporters that police
there were deploying additional resources around the city but that
New Yorkers should go about their business as usual. The city's
observance of the attacks will go on as planned, Bloomberg said.
The FBI and Homeland Security Department issued a joint
intelligence bulletin Thursday night to law enforcement around the
country urging them to maintain enhanced security and be on the
lookout for suspicious activity.
District of Columbia Police Chief Cathy Lanier said that all
police would be working 12-hour shifts indefinitely and that any
cars parked in odd locations risked being towed.
President Barack Obama was briefed on the threat information
Thursday morning and directed the counterterrorism community to
redouble its efforts in response to the information, a White House
official said.
White House officials said there were no plans to change Obama's
travel schedule on Sunday in light of the threat. The president is
scheduled to mark the 9/11 anniversary with stops at New York's
ground zero, the Pentagon and Shanksville, Pa., where one of the
hijacked planes crashed. He will also deliver remarks Sunday night
at a memorial concert at the Kennedy Center in Washington.
Law enforcement officials are checking out all of the details
included in the threat, said Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y.
"No need to panic," King said. "They have not been able to
confirm it yet."
Thursday morning, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano
told reporters that there was "a lot of chatter" around the
anniversary of the attacks but that there was no information about
a specific threat.
Associated Press writers Matt Apuzzo, Lolita C. Baldor, Julie
Pace and Eric Tucker in Washington and Tom Hays in New York
contributed to this report.

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