The Homeland Security Department and the FBI have issued a private alert warning law-enforcement officials that the death of Osama bin Laden could result in retaliatory attacks in the United States and against “western interests overseas.”
The alert states that economic and transportation centers could be targeted, as well as government installations and military personnel or facilities.
“Attacks might originate with al-Qa‘ida Core elements in the tribal areas of Pakistan, with one of their affiliates overseas, and/or with individuals in the homeland sympathetic to the cause but lacking a formal group association,” according to the alert, obtained by National Journal.
The alert, dated May 1 and labeled unclassified but for official use only, does not identify any specific targets and states that it is not a finished intelligence product. But it appears to contradict a statement made Monday by Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano that the department did not intend to issue any alerts under the nation’s new terror alert system.
“We have no indications of advanced al-Qa‘ida Core plotting efforts in the Homeland, but the case of now-detained al-Qa‘ida operative Najibullah Zazi -- who, along with two associates, planned to attack the New York City subway in 2009 using homemade explosives -- demonstrates that unidentified operatives could advance plotting in the homeland,” the alert stated.
“The [intelligence community] lacks current insight into al-Qa‘ida’s selection of Homeland targets, but as seen in previous al-Qaida Core plotting symbolic, economic, and transportation targets could be at risk,” the alert added. “Small-arms attacks against soft targets, which could be perceived as more achievable than other types of attacks, cannot be ruled out.”