WASHINGTON D.C.– Despite new “terrorist attack alerts” being issued by the U.S.
Federal government, Americans will travel in greater numbers than last year for
the Memorial Day weekend.
The U.S. Department of Transportation issued a heightened alert Friday that it
has received uncorroborated information that U.S. rails and tunnels may be
targeted for attack over the three-day holiday weekend.
While many Americans deem the new alert the latest of many, essentially going
about their day unaffected, government officials insist that there is a
substantial increase in “chatter” regarding a possible attack.
Analysts indicate that the eastern seaboard, namely Washington D.C. and New
York may once again be the latest targets, however, none have stated that there
is information to suggest certain attack.
The Holland Tunnel into Manhattan remained jam packed today as commuters
traveled into and out of the city. Specific warnings have been issued regarding
New York landmarks including the Statue of Liberty and the Brooklyn Bridge.
According to the New York Times, information gleaned from detained al-Qa’eda
leader Abu Zubaydah led the FBI to issue a terror warning for New York city
landmarks to city officials.
Citing an unnamed senior law enforcement official, the Times reported that the
threat against the Statue of Liberty and the Brooklyn Bridge was revealed last
weekend during a debriefing of Zubaydah outside the United States, after he was
captured in Pakistan in March and held by the United States at an undisclosed
The threat was treated as potentially credible because past statements by
Zubaydah, allegedly the third-ranking leader in Osama bin Laden's organization,
have been corroborated by military authorities, the paper reported.
Zubayda has been the source of other recent U.S. terror warnings, including an
FBI alert regarding possible strikes on U.S. malls and supermarkets.
A spokesman for New York's FBI office, Joseph Valiquette, would not confirm the
newspaper report, saying "the source of the information would be classified,"
Agence France-Presse (AFP) reported.
He did, however, note that the FBI had not intended to release the information
to the public.
"We had no plans to put it out, but we are also not unhappy that the New York
Police Department put it out," he told AFP.
According to the Times, NYPD Commissioner Raymond Kelly ordered beefed up
security measures at city bridges, tunnels and waterways late Monday, after
receiving word of the threat.
Tuesday, Kelly announced he had received information from the FBI
about "general threats" in New York and that the NYPD would take "all necessary
precautions" and communicate with "appropriate law enforcement agencies" to
address the threat.
Kelly had expected the FBI to announce the threat publicly on Tuesday, the
Times said, but when no such announcement was forthcoming, he made his
statement as increased security measures would be apparent to New York
residents and require some explanation.