(NEW YORK) — Intelligence sources tell ABC News that there is no “credible or specific” information that al Qaeda or any other terrorist organizations are plotting attacks timed to coincide with the 11th anniversary of 9/11.
Heightened vigilance in the nation’s big cities and a strong, visible police presence at Ground Zero in New York will signify law enforcement’s readiness to respond to any anniversary terror attack.
Federal and local counterterrorism officials tell ABC News that a heightened awareness of terror threats is now the “new normal.”
“There is no credible or specific intelligence to indicate terrorist organizations are plotting attacks to coincide with the 11th anniversary of 9/11,” Department of Homeland Security spokesman Matt Chandler told ABC News. “However, we know from the intelligence gathered from the Osama bin Laden raid that al Qaeda has shown an interest in specific dates and anniversaries, such as 9/11.”
Just before last year’s anniversary, intelligence sources were hearing incessant “chatter” on radical Islamist websites and communications channels that some kind of attack was coming to mark the 10th anniversary. Fortunately, nothing materialized, but officials said they were not letting down their guard.
“We continue to encourage our federal, state and local partners, as well as the American public, to remain vigilant and report any suspicious activity to local authorities,” Chandler said. “Our security posture, which always includes measures that are seen and unseen, will continue protect the American people.”
Meanwhile, federal authorities have been communicating with their local and state counterparts through joint terrorism task forces reminding them to track any lead and check any tips.
A bulletin obtained by ABC News has already gone out, urging vigilance on the anniversary, noting that there has been little discussion heard or found online by authorities of how al Qaeda would mark the anniversary.
Nor was there any “overt” discussion of al Qaeda’s failure to mark the 10th anniversary in the 12 months since.
A New York City official said that the New York Police Department would have a strong, visible presence at Ground Zero, where it now routinely deploys several hundred officers at a World Trade Center command center.
While 9/11 will never become just another day in America, keeping a close eye on any possible terror threat has become business as usual for law enforcement.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Jacqueline Howard, CNN
Jennifer Graham, Deseret News