News / USA

US Alert for Terrorist Threats Following bin Laden's Death

Police officers are briefed for a Philadelphia Police Department Homeland Security Unit emergency preparedness exercise in Philadelphia, May 4, 2011
Police officers are briefed for a Philadelphia Police Department Homeland Security Unit emergency preparedness exercise in Philadelphia, May 4, 2011

Multimedia

Chris Simkins

In confirming the death of its leader, Osama bin Laden, the terrorist group al-Qaida is threatening more attacks against the United States and its allies.  And top U.S. security officials say they are on alert for possible terrorist retaliation attacks.  While the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has not issued specific terror warnings, law enforcement agencies have heightened security around the country to guard against attacks by al-Qaida-affiliated groups or by terrorists acting on their own.  

Law enforcement agencies across the United States have stepped up patrols at travel hubs and government facilities, following warnings that Osama bin Laden's death might inspire home-grown extremists.

"You're not going to have 19 hijackers taking down aircraft, but kids trying to find AK-47s or buy handguns or buy hand grenades on the street and go do something at a commercial facility like a mall or a 7-11 [convenience store]," said Philip Mudd, a former CIA officer and FBI counterterrorism agent.

Analysts say authorities have stopped 38 terrorism plots in the United States since September 11, 2001.  And U.S. officials say documents seized from bin Laden's compound in Pakistan showed al-Qaida considered attacks against trains in the U.S. this coming September 11th.  Al-Qaida-affiliated groups have been linked to rail transport attacks in Europe.  

Just a year year ago, a Pakistani-born U.S. citizen - Faisal Shahzad - tried to set off a car bomb in New York's Times Square.  And Najibullah Zazi, an Afghan who has been in the U.S. since 1999, attempted to bomb New York City's subway system in 2009.

James Carafano, a national security expert with The Heritage Foundation in Washington, says security officials are keeping a close eye on al-Qaida-affiliated groups.

"The U.S. has always been concerned about al-Shabab, that is a group based in Somalia," he said. "They have links to the Somali community in the United States.  They are a declared enemy of the United States and a supporter of al-Qaida.  We have also been very concerned about 'LeT' - Lashkar-e-Taiba - which is a group based in Pakistan, which launched the horrifying [2008] attacks in Mumbai."

Counterterrorism experts say a group based in Yemen, al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, might try to stage an attack.  The group is linked to radical cleric Anwar al-Alawki, an American believed to have ties to the failed 2009 Christmas Day plot to blow up a U.S.-bound jetliner, and a scheme to plant parcel bombs on U.S. cargo flights last November.

Tim Starks, who covers intelligence and homeland security issues for "Congressional Quarterly," says bin Laden's followers target transport facilities.

"They definitely have a tendency to go back to the targets that they know. those are targets that are easy to plot against in some ways.  You don't have to have a lot of sophisticated efforts to go after them."

Analysts say the U.S. remains vulnerable to terrorist attacks, but the best way to protect the country is not adding more layers of security, it is stepping up intelligence efforts before terrorists can attack.

You May Like

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Bosnian Massacre Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs UN countermeasure More

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs