June 28th, 2011
02:56 PM ET

Summer holiday could tempt terrorists, federal officials warn

There is "no specific or credible information" terror groups are planning to attack the United States during the summer holiday season but law enforcement agencies should remain vigilant, the FBI and Department of Homeland Security say in an intelligence bulletin.

The death of al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden could spur lone offenders to try an attack on a holiday like July Fourth to "increase the symbolic impact," they say.

In the intelligence bulletin, dated Monday and obtained by CNN, federal officials note that as recently as February 2010 al Qaeda was interested in striking U.S. targets on symbolic dates such as the July Fourth holiday. That information was discovered in the cache of materials seized by U.S. Navy SEALs during their May raid of bin Laden's house in Pakistan.

There is no information the al Qaeda goal led to the development of actual plots against the United States, and it is unclear how many al Qaeda members or other terrorists shared that aspiration, the bulletin says.

Previous law enforcement notices have warned that terrorists could strike during holidays or target events where large numbers of people would gather in one place.

This week's bulletin makes that point and lists "sporting events, parades, religious and cultural activities, retail centers and shopping malls, airports and public transportation systems as especially attractive targets during the holiday season."

The payoff for terrorists would be an "opportunity to inflict mass casualties, with the added objectives of causing economic and psychological damage on the United States," it says.

The FBI and Homeland Security Department provide a list of behaviors that might indicate a person or group is planning an attack. These include trying to get information about security measures at a location, taking videos, watching to see how security personnel react during a drill or false alarm, and showing interest in buying materials that could be used to fashion explosive devices.

Officials also listed protective measures that could be taken, including conducting background checks on employees, developing thorough security and emergency response plans, and installing blast-resistant trash containers.

The bulletin lists several examples of terror attempts, including the May 2010 attempt to detonate a car bomb in the crowded Times Square area.

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Filed under: Al Qaeda • FBI • Homeland Security • Osama bin Laden • Terrorism
soundoff (14 Responses)
  1. Tien

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    April 4, 2012 at 9:27 am | Reply
  2. CDRenton

    Welcome to the (un)brave new world of Fear as a Commodity! Be sure to pick up your free copy of the Constitution at a trashbin near you.

    July 7, 2011 at 4:12 pm | Reply
  3. rightospeak

    Stop terrorising us with this "War On Terror ". I am more afraid of our own government .

    July 6, 2011 at 4:42 pm | Reply
  4. Roelof

    Best way to deal with it, is tax every muslim for the costs of security and violation of privacy. See if they still like to live in or come to a western country.

    July 3, 2011 at 10:27 pm | Reply
  5. Richie

    There is absolutely no proof it doesn't ok!!

    Where were you when OBL won America, Where were you!!

    Sure my wife may be a TSP ore, and 1000s died from ordinary gun crime in the part of city down my street, but do you want the Democratic party to have to deal with the headline of when they do strike?

    Do you?

    Wake up America!

    Where were the brave citizens of the motherland when Stalin betrayed them after his own radicals staged an invasion of the imperialist evil posing as freedom loving and justice carrying steward of the nationalist socialist party.

    How dare you America!

    June 29, 2011 at 1:13 pm | Reply
  6. sherman of course

    Do you know what the difference between a terrorist and a freedom fighter is? CNN

    June 29, 2011 at 1:07 pm | Reply
    • Richie

      No, these left wing extremists will betray their social responsibility and insight Mother Teressa into violence.

      Wake up America, wake Up!!

      June 29, 2011 at 1:15 pm | Reply
  7. James

    EVERYBODY PANIC!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    June 29, 2011 at 1:04 pm | Reply
  8. pod

    Not really bothered by this sh#t anymore – it's basically the baseline/norm now.
    That said, keep taking these @ssholes out by whatever means so they don't get the upper hand.

    To the terrorists, "get a life" would ya? lol. Kinda takes on a new meaning...

    June 29, 2011 at 11:29 am | Reply
    • jred

      I couldn't agree more. Plus, got my Concealed Carry license... hey OBL wannabe, I got a little somthin-somthin fer your azz 🙂

      June 30, 2011 at 2:52 pm | Reply
  9. Peter

    Why doesn't the DHS just tell us that we aren't paranoid enough like we used to be?

    June 29, 2011 at 10:57 am | Reply
  10. Leprakawn


    I think the prominence of this article is that OBL was killed last month, and they believe plans of retribution are in order.

    June 29, 2011 at 10:19 am | Reply
  11. jessicaber

    Huh. I thought that this article read "Summer could tempt tourists" that is why I flipped to it.

    June 29, 2011 at 10:09 am | Reply
  12. BigLikeAPickle

    What is the point of this article? Don't we get this same article every 4th of July/Christmas/New Year/Super Bowl?

    June 29, 2011 at 9:19 am | Reply

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