February 7, 2003
Office of Intelligence
and Security (OIS)
TRANSPORTATION SECURITY INFORMATION REPORT
Subject: Homeland Security Advisory System raised to High (Orange)
National Threat Warning System-Homeland Security Information Update-Potential Al-Qaeda Operational Planning
This TS1R provides the latest advisory from U.S. law enforcement and intelligence agencies addressing the current threat. This advisory is based upon publicly released information and may be shared within the transportation community.
Increasing intelligence indicates that the Al-Qaeda terrorist network maintains an ongoing interest in attacking targets, including soft or lightly secured targets in the United States and/or the Persian Gulf. The likelihood of such targeting may rise in or around the end of the Hajj (a Muslim religious period ending mid-February 2003), according to current intelligence reporting.
During the past five months, Al-Qaeda and affiliated groups have attacked a nightclub in a tourist district in Bali, Indonesia, and a hotel in Mombassa, Kenya. Intelligence indicates that Al-Qaeda and affiliated groups continue to view apartments and hotels as well as other soft targets in the United States and abroad as viable and attractive targets.
Law enforcement should be aware that intelligence indicates that various methods of attack could be employed. The recent attacks in Indonesia and Kenya as well as the August 1998 bombings of two U.S. Embassies in East Africa demonstrate Al-Qaeda‘s proficiency and willingness to carry out large-scale vehicle bombings. Circumstances surrounding recent arrests in Europe also indicate that Al-Qaeda has developed at least a rudimentary proficiency in creating biological and chemical agents. Potential attacks involving radiological weapons should also be considered.
Several U.S. economic sectors should also be considered potential targets, given their significance and past interest by Al-Qaeda:
— The energy sector, including tank farms, refinery facilities, and oil tankers.
— The financial sector.
— Key transportation links, including bridges, tunnels, railways, subways, and civil aviation.
As well, current intelligence suggests that the Al-Qaeda network maintains an ongoing interest in attacking:
–Symbolic targets, such as national monuments and recreation and amusement parks.
— U.S. symbols of power, such as the White House, the Capitol, and other federal buildings.
The national threat level has been raised from “ELEVATED” (Yellow) to “HIGH” (Orange).
Recipients are reminded to remain alert to the potential for such targeting. Information on suspicious activity possibly related to such targeting should be reported immediately to the nearest FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF). State and local law enforcement are encouraged to discuss appropriate measures for their respective communities with their designated JTTT.
Modal authorities and infrastructure owners and operators are recommended to evaluate current security procedures and apply, as appropriate, protective measures that correspond to Threat Condition HIGH (Orange) under the Homeland Security Advisory System. Additionally, since a terrorist attack could occur at any level, officials at transportation facilities should continue to report suspicious activities or persons to their local FBI field office.
U.S. DOT reminds the transportation industry to report information concerning suspicious activity to their local FBI office through the FBI website http://www.fbi.gov/contact/fo/fo.htm or to the National infrastructure Protection Center (NIPC) at its website http://www.nipc.gov/incident/cirr.htm