Senior U.S. intelligence officials tell ABC News new intelligence suggests a small al Qaeda cell is on its way to the United States, or may already be here.
The White House has convened an urgent multi-agency meeting for Thursday
afternoon to deal with the new threat.
Top intelligence and law enforcement officials have been told to assemble in the Situation Room to report on:
— what steps can be taken to minimize or counter the threat,
— and what steps are being taken to harden security for government buildings and personnel.
“It suggests they have information that the cell or cells coming this direction want to attack a government facility,” Brad Garrett, a former FBI agent and ABC News
Law enforcement officials say the recent failed attacks in London have provided
important new clues about possible tactics.
And officials say the London attackers use of the Internet left important clues that are being used to decode other e-mails that had initially been deemed unimportant but are now taking on new significance.
Additional information from “Officials worry of summer terror attack,” by Katherine Shrader for the Associated Press:
On Tuesday, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff told the editorial
board of The Chicago Tribune that he had a “gut feeling” about a new period of increased
He based his assessment on earlier patterns of terrorists in Europe and intelligence he would not disclose.
“Summertime seems to be appealing to them,” Chertoff said in his discussion
with the newspaper about terrorists. “We worry that they are rebuilding their activities.”
Other U.S. counterterrorism officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, shared Chertoff’s concern and said that al-Qaida and like-minded groups have been able to plot and train more freely in the tribal areas along the Afghan-Pakistani border in recent months. Osama bin Laden and his top deputy, Ayman al-Zawahri, are believed to be hiding in the rugged region.
That just might have something to do with last September’s peace deal between the Taliban and Pakistani officials in the North Waziristan region.