Saturday, September 10, 2011

The Evolving Al Qaeda 9/11 Anniversary Threat

What first was reported as a threat of car bombs and attacks in New York City or Washington DC to coincide with the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people, has evolved into a possible dirty bomb terror threat that builds on the failed Times Square bombing carried out by Faisal Shahzad.
Sources told CBS 2’s Marcia Kramer that another attempt to explode a bomb there is a key concern, and the intelligence suggests it could be a dirty bomb.

Based on informant information authorities are looking for three suspects. One is believed to be an American citizen. Two others apparently have U.S. travel documents.

Some of the information on the latest threat could be coming from Younis al-Mauritani, the man hand-picked by Osama bin Laden to develop terror targets in the United States. He’s a “most wanted list” senior al Qaeda operative who was arrested in Pakistan last week with his computer, BlackBerry and other tools.

“Remember, an awful lot of the security we have you don’t see,” Mayor Michael Bloomberg said. “I’m satisfied that Commissioner Kelly has deployed all of our resources doing everything that we should be doing.”

“Terrorism is theater and this is the stage,” NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly said. “This is right now probably the world’s biggest stage. “
Law enforcement is concerned that this is an al Qaeda directed threat, and not merely a lone wolf operation. They further note in the report that once al Qaeda selects targets, it continues to carry out attacks against the target until the targets are successfully destroyed.

That would also seem to support the possibility of attacks in Washington, particularly against the Capitol or White House, which were the likely targets of Flight 93, which was crashed in the Pennsylvania countryside when passengers fought the hijackers to keep them from carrying out their suicide run.

Security theater is on parade as the NYPD, like other police forces around the country is making a show of force, with a 1/3 increase in patrols as staffing was adjusted with overlapping 12 hour shifts until further notice. However, security in NYC goes beyond visible patrols and checkpoints. It includes hundreds of cameras and sensors that may detect terrorists before they strike, but which are far more useful for evidenciary purposes in trying to track down movements of terrorists after they strike.

Many New Yorkers are taking things in stride, and are hoping that the NYPD can get the job done of keeping the city safe. It takes more than the police though; it takes a vigilant public. The Times Square bombing that wasn't was prevented not because of police cameras or a cop on the beat saw something suspicious. A street vendor notified police and fire departments of a suspicious vehicle, and the bomb contained therein fizzled to everyone's relief.

I think this weekend will be a muted one in NYC. People don't need a public reminder of 9/11 or politicians dedicating a memorial on the 10th anniversary to know what happened or why. Many of us were there - and we know that the threat will persist as long as this terror group continues to inspire followers to take up the cause of war against the US and putting no value on life.

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