U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano is urging Americans to be "vigilant" in reporting any suspicious activity, as investigations continue into what authorities say is a credible but unconfirmed terrorist threat planned to coincide with the 10th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.
In a statement Friday, two days before the anniversary, Napolitano said federal authorities are working with local and state law enforcement to implement "seen and unseen" measures to mitigate any danger. But she said protecting the United States is a "shared responsibility" and all residents can play a role.
Few details have been released about the nature of the threat, but Secretary of State Hillary Clinton indicated al-Qaida is behind it. Delivering a speech on counterterrorism in New York Friday, she described the threat as a report that "al-Qaida again is seeking to harm Americans and in particular to target New York and Washington."
Authorities in both those cities say they have increased police staffing for the next several days, but that the threat of an attack would not disrupt Sunday's ceremonies for the anniversary.
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon released a statement Friday commemorating the attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people. He said his thoughts are with the victims, their families, and everyone else who suffered and lost people. He said no cause justifies "wanton killing or destruction," and that the U.N. will honor the memory of the victims by rallying the world to fight for justice and peace, now and for future generations.
The White House says the newest terrorist threat has not changed President Barack Obama's plans to commemorate the anniversary. Obama is scheduled Sunday to visit the sites of the attacks in New York City, as well as at the Pentagon, and in Shanksville, Pennsylvania.
The White House says the president has been continually updated on the threat and that he has called on counterterrorism authorities to redouble their efforts to protect the U.S.
In her speech Friday, Clinton said the country must do more to fight terrorism, but that it cannot and will not live in fear, sacrifice its values or pull back from the world.
Earlier this week, the U.S. government raised the alert level at its domestic military bases ahead of the anniversary.
Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.