Bin Laden considered 9/11 anniversary attack on US rail system
The potential plot, sketched out in a vague note last year, was more significant in that it showed that bin Laden was not just a figurehead of Al Qaeda but an active leader.
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"It's the first time we've gotten something directly from him," a US counterterrorism official told the Journal. "There was nothing new in it. What's different about it is it was in bin Laden's house."Skip to next paragraph
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Intelligence officials have made translating and analyzing the information found in the compound a top priority so that any plots already in the works can be disrupted.
Following the US raid on bin Laden's compound early May 2, American transportation facilities were put on heightened alert in anticipation of possible revenge attacks by Al Qaeda, with increased security at airports in particular.
Mass transport such as trains and subways are more difficult to secure. To date, random checks with bomb-sniffing dogs have been the most common security measure, rather than checkpoints to screen every passenger, as is done in airports.
The March 2004 bombings of commuter trains in Madrid resulted in 191 deaths and about 1,800 people injured, the L.A. Times reports. In July 2005, 52 people died and about 700 were injured when suicide bombers attacked three subway trains and a double-decker bus in London.
The Wall Street Journal reports that this is not the first plot against mass transit in the US. In 2009, the FBI stopped a plot to blow up trains in New York City. In September, Western intelligence officials uncovered an Al Qaeda plot to carry out coordinated attacks in major cities in Britain, France, Germany, and possibly the US, according to The Christian Science Monitor.
No new alert has been issued because the note discussing the attack lacked specifics, according to the DHS statement:
We want to stress that this alleged Al Qa’ida plotting is based on initial reporting, which is often misleading or inaccurate and subject to change. We remain at a heightened state of vigilance, but do not intend to issue an NTAS alert at this time. We will issue alerts only when we have specific or credible information to convey to the American public.
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