By Carol Cratty
President Barack Obama met Thursday with national security team members "to review the threat picture" five days prior to the anniversary of the killing of Osama bin Laden, the White House said.
"At this time, we have no credible information that terrorist organizations, including al Qaeda, are plotting attacks in the U.S. to coincide with the anniversary of bin Laden's death," White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters. "However, we assess that AQ's affiliates and allies remain intent on conducting attacks in the homeland, possibly to avenge the death of bin Laden, but not necessarily tied to the anniversary. The president thanked his team and directed them to continue taking all necessary measures to protect the American people."
Carney's remarks came the day after federal authorities issued an intelligence bulletin saying there is "no credible information" that terrorist groups will try to mount attacks to coincide with the anniversary of the U.S. raid that killed bin Laden on May 2, 2011, in Pakistan.
But the advisory says extremists have not lost their desire to hit the United States and may renew efforts to target planes.
The bulletin, issued by the FBI and Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Northern Command, says individuals have posted messages on "violent extremist Web forums" vowing attacks on the United States around the anniversary, but adds that "such threats are almost certainly aspirational."
According to the document, there is no evidence al Qaeda itself has chosen to attack on the anniversary. But the bulletin says the group would view an attack on the United States at that time as "a symbolic victory that would help reassert the group's global relevance following the major leadership losses and operational setbacks it has suffered over the past year."
U.S. officials are particularly concerned about al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, also known as AQAP, which the bulletin refers to as "an enduring threat to the West." The bulletin says the group may wish to "advance plots along multiple fronts, including renewed efforts to target Western aviation."
In addition, U.S. officials warn that al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula "advocates recruitment of Western operatives, and disseminates propaganda intended to prepare its adherents to act individually in their home countries, including the United States."
Law enforcement previously has issued similar advisories, including shortly after bin Laden was killed. Another was issued after Anwar al-Awlaki was killed by a drone strike in Yemen in late September. Officials said al-Awlaki was a key figure in al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and helped direct the plot by Umar Farouk AbdulMutallab to use a bomb hidden in his underwear to take down an airliner over the Untied States on Christmas Day 2009. The group allegedly tried another aviation plot in late 2010 with explosives hidden in printers placed on cargo planes.
A law enforcement official said such bulletins are distributed "all the time for situational awareness for our law enforcement partners." Federal officials use the advisories to encourage law enforcement partners to be on the lookout for any suspicious activity which could indicate a plot is in the works.
– CNN's Lesa Jansen contributed to this report.