U.S. warns Americans to be vigilant for Sept. 11
WASHINGTON, Reuters and AP
September 11, 2002, 12:00 am TWN
The U.S. State Department warned Americans to be especially vigilant around Sept. 11, the first anniversary of the attacks on New York and Washington.
In a worldwide caution issued late on Monday, it said: "There is a continuing threat of terrorist actions, which may target civilians and include suicide operations."
"The U.S. Government has continued to receive credible indications that extremist groups and individuals are planning additional terrorist actions against U.S. interests. Such actions may be imminent and include suicide operations. We remind American citizens to remain vigilant," it added.
The warning replaces a similar one issued on July 1, adding the call for vigilance around Sept. 11.
The FBI also warned local police and the U.S. utility, banking and transportation industries of a steady stream of threats mentioning New York, Washington and the anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks.
U.S. military bases and diplomatic missions worldwide are also being placed on high alert for the week, officials say. The U.S. Embassy in Jakarta was closed Monday because of a specific threat against it.
The consulate in Surabaya also was closed and officials said the U.S. Embassy in Manila was a source of concern.
The flurry of incoming threats picked up by intelligence sources is challenging the FBI to determine which might be credible. But while officials say they have no specific details outlining an impending attack, the government is taking no chances.
White House press secretary Ari Fleischer said Monday the threat of new attacks remains a worry to U.S. officials.
"Anniversaries can be — not necessarily always — can be occasions for heightened terrorist activity," Fleischer said. "Just given the fact that it's a one-year anniversary, we're going to be on our toes."
Last week, the Federal Bureau of Investigation posted a bulletin on a Web site and sent a message over a private law enforcement bulletin system advising a state of alert on Sept. 11.
The police bulletin was sent Wednesday, according to a law enforcement official who spoke on condition of anonymity.
The Web site bulletin was posted by the FBI's National Infrastructure Protection Center, which assesses threats and passes warnings to local infrastructure companies and agencies. Banks, trucking companies, power companies, utility companies and transportation companies are in the network that the FBI communicates with through Internet bulletins.
Other events mentioned on the Web site as warranting heightened awareness include the Sept. 10-20 U.N. General Assembly session in New York and the Sept. 25-29 World Bank and International Monetary Fund meetings in Washington.
"A large volume of threats of undetermined reliability continues to be received and investigated by the FBI," the bulletin said. "Several of these threats make reference to the events of Sept. 11, 2001, and to New York City and Washington, D.C."
The warnings are based on information from all U.S. intelligence sources, interviews with detainees at the U.S. Naval Base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and telephone calls according to a senior law enforcement official.