A Guarantee…If Bush Popularity Goes Down In Polls—New Terrorist Warnings Appear Within Days.
U.S. has credible threat of new terror attacks
Wed 26 May, 2004 14:18
By Sue Pleming
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States has "credible" information of new, unspecified terror attacks in the country in the coming months, U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge says.
Ridge said in a round of morning television interviews on Wednesday that there had been disturbing new reports of possible attacks to coincide with high profile events across America, including the November U.S. presidential election.
"We have received several reports from sources that we do deem credible. That's not unlike intelligence we unfortunately see on a fairly regular basis," said Ridge.
"It's not specific but it's enough to continue to keep us vigilant and to keep us working every single day to make sure America is more secure," he told ABC's "Good Morning America."
Ridge said there were no plans to raise the colour-coded terror alert level, which is currently set at "yellow" for an "elevated" risk of attack.
Attorney General John Ashcroft and FBI Director Robert Mueller were due to hold a 2 p.m. (7 p.m. British time) news conference at FBI headquarters.
Ridge, who has been warning since April of potential attacks, gave no details on which events could be targeted in the coming months.
Next month, G8 leaders are meeting near Savannah, Georgia, and a World War Two memorial is being opened this weekend in Washington over the Memorial Day holiday weekend. There are also Democratic and Republican Party conventions in Boston and New York over the summer ahead of the November election.
HIGH PROFILE EVENTS
"There is a threat reporting stream that talks about an attack and if you couple that with the number of high profile events we are going to have in the United States and coupled with it being an election year, (that) gives us reason to be concerned," he told NBC's "Today" show.
The Washington Post reported on Wednesday that U.S. officials had information suggesting al Qaeda has people in the United States preparing for a large-scale attack this summer.
Asked whether a terror cell had recently entered the United States, Ridge said his department operated under the notion there were terror cells inside the United States at all times.
"Sometimes we get reporting of their presence and sometimes we get reporting that they are on their way to establish a presence," he told NBC.
The Post said Ashcroft and Mueller would ask Americans to watch for several suspected al Qaeda operatives who may be in the country.
The newspaper said the FBI likely plans another public push to find Aafia Siddiqui, a Pakistani woman who has a doctorate in neurological Science
and has studied in the Boston area, as well as in Houston.
Officials said Mueller and Ashcroft would not announce any arrests or any new criminal charges at their news conference.
Despite new threats, Ridge said the intelligence on possible new attacks was not the most disturbing since the September 11, 2001, attacks on New York and Washington that are blamed on al Qaeda.
And he said Americans should go about their business over the summer months.
"Our job is to have security improved every single day. Americans' jobs is to go about living their lives as Americans. We'll provide the security; they have to go out and figure out how to have fun," he told CBS.