Al-Qaida was interested in targeting oil and natural gas infrastructure last year, according to intelligence obtained from the raid on Osama bin Laden's compound. But, despite its interest, the terrorist group had no immediate plans to attack, a Department of Homeland Security spokesman said.
"We are not aware of indications of any specific or imminent terrorist attack plotting against the oil and natural gas sector overseas or in the United States,” DHS press secretary Matthew Chandler said in a statement. "However, in 2010 there was continuing interest by members of al-Qa'ida in targeting oil tankers and commercial oil infrastructure at sea."
“[We] wanted to make our partners aware of the alleged interest; it is unclear if any further planning has been conducted since mid-last year,” Chandler said.
Al-Qaida was also considering targeting U.S. rail lines, according to the intelligence at the compound. The Navy SEAL team that killed the Qaida chief recovered a journal believed to contain bin Laden's handwritten notes, as well as computers, DVDs, hard drives, and other data-storage devices -- apparently enough data to fill a small college library.
An official cautioned that it would take some time for counterintelligence agencies to conduct an exhaustive review of the information. The government will act quickly if an imminent threat is discovered, the official said.
Targeting tankers would not be a new tactic for al-Qaida militants, who bombed a French supertanker in 2002 in the Gulf of Aden off the Yemeni coast—killing one crewman and spilling 90,000 barrels of oil.