“Travelers with German passports do not require a visa to enter the United States.”
US and European officials said Tuesday they have detected a plot to carry out a major, coordinated series of new terror attacks in the United Kingdom, France, Germany and possibly the United States.
A senior US official said that while there is a “credible” threat, no specific time or place is known. President Obama has been briefed about the threat, say senior US officials.
Intelligence and law enforcement authorities in the US and Europe said the threat information is based on the interrogation of a suspected German terrorist allegedly captured on his way to Europe in late summer and now being held at Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan.
US law enforcement officials say they have been told the terrorists were planning a series of “Mumbai-style” commando raids on what were termed “economic or soft” targets in the countries.
In testimony before Congress last week, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said, “We are all seeing increased activity by a more diverse set of groups and a more diverse set of threats.”
Bet there’s a common thread.
The captured German reportedly said several teams of attackers, all with European passports, had been trained and dispatched from training camps in Waziristan and Pakistan. Officials say the German claimed the attack plan had been approved by Osama Bin Laden.
These attackers are in addition to the reported 90 or so combat-trained jihadists already reported to be in Germany last November.
US intelligence officials said they believed an attack on American soil was more likely to come from terrorists connected to the al Qaeda group in Yemen, known as AQAP, al Qaeda of the Arabian Peninsula.
In the last four years, dozens of German citizens have been recruited to train in al Qaeda-connected camps in Pakistan, according to US and German law enforcement officials.
“The American authorities are extremely nervous about what is going on, the Germans are extremely nervous about what’s going on,” said Guido Steinberg, a counter-terrorism analyst at the German Institute for International and Security Affairs.
“The advantage, of course, is the passport, because with the German passport it’s a lot easier to travel,” said Steinberg.
Travelers with German passports do not require a visa to enter the United States.
Steinberg said the Germans, many of Turkish and Uzbek descent, were recruited from mosques in Berlin, Bonn and Hamburg, including the same mosque in Hamburg where Mohammed Atta and other 9/11 hijackers gathered. German authorities shut down the Taiba mosque in Hamburg, previously known as the al Quds mosque, in August….