“The operatives are believed to have embarked on their journey to the U.S. from the tribal areas of Pakistan, according to two senior officials.”
Bin Laden had reportedly been obsessed with an attack on the tenth anniversary of 9/11, and this report ties the plot under investigation to Zawahiri. “Feds: Zawahiri Launched Al Qaeda Terror Plot for 9/11 Anniversary,” from ABC News, September 8:
U.S. authorities are scrambling to sort through information that the CIA developed in the past 24 hours indicating that at least three individuals entered the U.S. in August by air with the intent to launch a vehicle-borne attack against Washington, D.C. or New York around the anniversary of 9/11, according to intelligence officials.
Officials say the alleged terror plot was initiated by new al Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri, Osama bin Laden’s successor, who had pledged to avenge bin Laden’s death earlier this year in a U.S. raid.
Intelligence and law enforcement officials told ABC News that at least one of the individuals is a U.S. citizen and one official said that two of the individuals may have had U.S. documentation — whether green cards or passports was unclear.
The threat was described as specific and credible by federal officials. “Al Qaeda has shown an interest in important dates and anniversaries. In this instance it is accurate that there is credible, specific but unconfirmed information,” said Janet Fedarcyk, FBI Assistant Special Agent in Charge of the New York office, at a Thursday evening press conference.
At a the same press conference, New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg said the NYPD was already on alert because the anniversary is seen by terrorists as an opportune time to strike, and would be deploying additional resources around the city. He also said that the threat was credible and had to be taken seriously, though “it has not been corroborated.”
As news of the information became public, authorities began weighing whether to raise the national threat level.
Although authorities said they had not yet identified the suspects, they are looking at multiple names of individuals who entered the U.S. after mid-August. The operatives are believed to have embarked on their journey to the U.S. from the tribal areas of Pakistan, according to two senior officials. One official said the route may have taken them through Dubai.
The information on the plot was “very specific ” said one official, adding ” It seems like the information has been worked for a while.” A second and third official confirmed the specifics of the possible plot added that a declassified bulletin is expected to be issued shortly.
Multiple sources say that federal authorities will send a bulletin to law enforcement tonight. Now authorities are making every effort to confirm the threat and to hunt down any plotters.
Initially, one official added that at least two rental trucks — one from Penske and one from Budget — were being sought nationwide. Those trucks have since been recovered and appear to have had no connection to the plotters.
The threat information was obtained recently and originated from overseas sources — Pakistan, according to one official. […]
In a statement, Department of Homeland Security spokesman Matthew Chandler said, “As we know from the intelligence gathered from the Osama bin Laden raid, al Qaeda has shown an interest in important dates and anniversaries, such as 9/11. In this instance, it’s accurate that there is specific, credible but unconfirmed threat information.”
“As we always do before important dates like the anniversary of 9/11, we will undoubtedly get more reporting in the coming days,” said Chandler. “Sometimes this reporting is credible and warrants intense focus, other times it lacks credibility and is highly unlikely to be reflective of real plots underway. Regardless, we take all threat reporting seriously, and we have taken, and will continue to take all steps necessary to mitigate any threats that arise. We continue to ask the American people to remain vigilant as we head into the weekend.”
U.S officials have been bracing for just such a plot after discovering documents in bin Laden’s Pakistan hideout in which he called for a strike against the U.S. on the tenth anniversary of September 11th….