Bloomberg News

Terror Threat ‘Is Specific’ and ‘Credible,’ Brennan Says

September 11, 2011

(Updates with Brennan comment from sixth paragraph.)

Sept. 11 (Bloomberg) -- John Brennan, President Barack Obama’s counterterrorism adviser, said U.S. officials are working “round the clock” to investigate a “specific and credible” threat of a terrorist attack against Washington or New York.

Counterterrorism officials have “some information” about the nature of the possible plans and the people who may be involved, Brennan said today on CBS’s “Face the Nation” program, on the 10-year anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

The Department of Homeland Security received “specific, credible but unconfirmed threat information” as the anniversary neared, agency spokesman Matt Chandler said Sept. 8 in a statement. The threat concerns a possible vehicle-borne attack, sponsored by al-Qaeda, against New York or Washington, according to a different U.S. official who wasn’t authorized to discuss the matter publicly. Brennan declined to comment today on whether the reported plot involved a vehicle bomb.

“We do have some information about the nature of the attack that is being reported,” Brennan said. “We also have some information about the possible individuals, but I don’t want to get into any operational details. I don’t want to compromise anything that could lead us to individuals who may be part of this plot.”

Reviewing Intelligence

President Barack Obama met with his national security team yesterday, and again this morning, to review the intelligence and ensure U.S. officials were pursuing all possible leads, Brennan said.

“When this information first came in, he told us very clearly, ‘I want everything to be done to find out whether or not this information from these sources has any credibility to it,’” Brennan said on the “Fox News Sunday” program. “So we’ve been doing that. We’ve been working very closely with state and local partners. Bulletins have gone out. We’ve had a number of individuals who have called in about suspicious vehicles. That is something that we want people to do.”

The U.S. is also working with officials in Libya to track down Muammar Qaddafi’s cache of weapons, Brennan said.

“We’re working very closely with Libyan authorities in Tripoli and other areas of country so that we can help them to ensure that the weapons that are available in the country do not fall into the hands of terrorists,” Brennan said. “There are concerns about man pads, the shoulder fired missiles that could be used against aircraft, and there were a large number of these in the Libyan inventory.”

--With assistance from Seth Stern and John Walcott in Washington. Editors: Ann Hughey, Laurie Asseo

To contact the reporter on this story: Molly Peterson in Washington at mpeterson9@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Ann Hughey at ahughey@bloomberg.net


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