The Department of Homeland Security and the FBI have warned police across the United States that al Qaeda has a "continuing interest" in attacking oil and natural gas targets, a department spokesman said Friday.
The warning came as a result of information seized during the May 2 raid that killed Osama bin Laden in Pakistan, a U.S. official said.
"We are not aware of indications of any specific or imminent terrorist-attack plotting against the oil and natural gas sector overseas or in the United States," said Homeland Security spokesman Matthew Chandler.
"However, in 2010 there was continuing interest by members of al Qaeda in targeting oil tankers and commercial oil infrastructure at sea."
Chandler said it is "unclear if any further planning has been conducted" since the middle of last year.
This U.S. Department of Homeland Security has issued an unclassified notice stressing security on U.S. railways - an alert prompted, according to a U.S. law enforcement source, by information gleaned from this week's raid on Osama bin Laden's Pakistani compound.
The notice says that, in February 2010, al Qaeda members discussed a plan to derail trains in the United States by placing obstructions on tracks, according to a source who received the notice.
The plan was to be executed this fall, on the 10th anniversary of the September 11, 2001, attacks. But no specific city or rail system was identified in the notice, the source said.
"I would not view it as an operational plan," the source said. "I am not aware that anyone was tasked to carry it out."
Bin Laden was killed early Monday morning at the Pakistani housing compound where he was staying by a team of U.S. Navy SEALs, U.S. officials have said.
[Updated at 1:06 p.m] Authorities in Maryland arrested a man Wednesday on suspicion of plotting to blow up a military recruiting station, a law enforcement source said.
The man - described as a convert to Islam - is upset that the military continues to kill Muslims, the source said. He is to appear in court in Baltimore at 12:30 p.m. Wednesday.
Marcia Murphy with the U.S. attorney's office in Baltimore said the suspect was arrested in the morning hours "in connection with a scheme to attack an armed forces recruiting station in Catonsville, Maryland, with what he believed to be a vehicle bomb."
[Update at 10:25 p.m.] Two suspicious packages found abroad that were bound for Jewish organizations in the United States contained a massive amount of explosive material that would have triggered a powerful blast had the suspected terror plot not been thwarted, a source close to the investigation said Friday.
[Update at 9:55 p.m.] A Yemeni diplomat in Washington says the Yemeni government has opened a full scale investigation into a suspicious device that was shipped from the country to the East Midlands Airport in the United Kingdom.
President Obama's counterterrorism adviser, John Brennan, has been in discussions with Yemen President Ali Abdullah Saleh about how to address the threat, a senior U.S. official said.
Yemen Embassy spokesman Mohammed Albasha in Washington said no UPS or FedEx flights take off or land in Yemen.
"It is way too early to rush to conclusions," Albasha said. "We have had heightened security at our airport(s) and have been working very closely on
security with our regional partners including the U.K. and U.S. since the Christmas incident" involving the accused would-be bomber now known as the "Underwear Bomber."
Meanwhile, British police sources said the discovery of the suspicious package at East Midlands Airport was the result of an intelligence tip rather than a random check.
[Update 8:54 p.m.] Synagogues across metropolitan Chicago, Illinois, began taking "appropriate precautions" Friday after officials warned them to watch out for suspicious packages from abroad, a Jewish Federation spokeswoman said.
President Obama said two packages that apparently contained explosive materials were bound for two synagogues in Chicago.
While there were "no identifiable or specific threats," an FBI official in Chicago said suspicious packages addressed to U.S. destinations found on cargo planes abroad warranted the precautions.
Read the full story on CNN.com.
[Update 8:20 p.m.] The Emirates flight that was escorted into JFK International Airport this afternoon has been cleared, FBI Special Agent Richard Kolko said. Officials originally flagged flight 201 because there was cargo from Yemen aboard.
Read more on CNN.com.
[Update 8:00 p.m.] A U.S. official said it is likely that the material used in two suspicious packages bound for the United States was PETN – a highly explosive organic compound belonging to the same chemical family as nitroglycerin – but testing continues to reach a definitive conclusion.
PETN was allegedly one of the components of the bomb concealed by Umar Farouk AbdulMutallab, who is accused of trying to set off an explosion aboard Northwest Airlines Flight 253 as it approached Detroit, Michigan, on December 25. Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula is also believed to be behind that botched attack.
Declining to provide specifics, White House counterterrorism chief John Brennan said intelligence officials were specifically looking for such suspicious packages when the first package was found in the United Kingdom.
He later issued a statement thanking Saudi Arabia, saying the United
States is "grateful" for the country's help in identifying the threat.
When Sonya Hill opens the door of her rebuilt shotgun house in the Lower 9th Ward she faces a reminder of the devastation Katrina brought. Directly across from her house is the spot where the levee broke five years ago.
It has since been rebuilt and sits higher than before the storm. It is an impressive wall of gray concrete meant to offer protection from future storms, but for Sonya Hill it is a reminder of everything that can go wrong.
“Looking at that wall, I’m thinking what if it breaks again? What if it breaks right in front of my door and I’m inside with my kids? I don’t feel safe back here if a hurricane comes through,” she says.
A U.S. official said Monday the latest video from fugitive cleric Anwar al-Awlaki "is just one more indication that he is an avowed terrorist who espouses murder and the killing of innocents."
[Updated at 10:40 a.m.] An all-clear has been given at the Seattle-Tacoma Airport after a suspicious bag led to a partial airport evacuation. The bag was filled with a variety of electronics and batteries, officials said.
The Department of Homeland Security is changing its no-fly list update policies to prevent a repeat of what happened Monday, when the suspect in the Times Square attempted bombing was allowed to board a plane despite his name being on the no-fly list, a DHS official told CNN Wednesday.
The Transportation Security Administration on Sunday ramped up security screening at airports along the East Coast after an attempted car bombing a day earlier in New York's Times Square, a Department of Homeland Security official said.
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