U.S. officials are concerned about what they say has been an increase in intelligence pointing to the possibility of another imminent terrorist attack against the United States. This, two days after an Arab television station broadcast an audio tape believed to be the voice of Osama bin-Laden, the accused mastermind of last year's attacks in New York and Washington.
If confirmed to be the voice of bin Laden, this audiotape - first broadcast on the Arab al-Jazeera television - would amount to the first hard evidence in nearly a year that the al-Qaida leader survived the war in Afghanistan and continues to evade U.S. efforts to track him down. Among other things, the voice on the tape warns of new attacks against Western countries that are cooperating in the U.S. -led war on terrorism.
At the same time, a U.S. official tells VOA there has been a sharp increase in intelligence pointing to the possibility of more terrorist attacks against the United States.
At the White House, Spokesman Scott McClellan says. "We do remain concerned about recent intelligence reporting as well as the audiotape received earlier this week no matter whose voice is it is that is on that audio tape," he said.
Government linguists and technical experts are examining the tape to determine whether it may have been altered or tampered with. But experts say it could be a sign that al-Qaida is plotting more deadly attacks against American targets, something CIA Director George Tenet told Congress last month the terrorist group is, in fact, trying to do.
Paul Bremer serves on President Bush's advisory council on homeland security. "You sometimes get the impression from what you hear and see in the press that al-Qaida is a sort of a unitary organization," said Paul Bremer. "It's really not. It's sort of a dispersed network. It's got lots and lots of different cells in different places."
The government is particularly concerned about possible retaliatory actions in response to Thursday night's scheduled execution in Virginia of Mir Aimal Kasi, a Pakistani convicted of killing two American employees of the Central Intelligence Agency outside the agency's Virginia headquarters nine years ago. Americans around the world have been warned to remain vigilant.