Al-Qaida contemplated plots against U.S. rail sector in February 2010 based on initial reporting, says Dept. of Homeland Security; DHS says there is no information on imminent terrorist threat to U.S. rail sector

WASHINGTON , May 6, 2011 (press release) – "DHS issued an intelligence message May 5 to its federal, state, local and tribal partners about potential Al-Qa'ida contemplation in February 2010 of plots against the U.S. rail sector. For the same reason, the Transportation Security Administration will issue a bulletin to rail sector stakeholders. We have no information of any imminent terrorist threat to the U.S. rail sector, but wanted to make our partners aware of the alleged plotting; it is unclear if any further planning has been conducted since February of last year.

We want to stress that this alleged Al Qa’ida plotting is based on initial reporting, which is often misleading or inaccurate and subject to change. We remain at a heightened state of vigilance, but do not intend to issue an NTAS alert at this time. We will issue alerts only when we have specific or credible information to convey to the American public. Our security posture, which always includes a number of measures both seen and unseen, will continue to respond appropriately to protect the American people from an evolving threat picture both in the coming days and beyond.

Since Sunday, DHS and its partners have taken a number of actions, including but not limited to: reviewing protective measures for all potential terrorist targets, including critical infrastructure and transportation systems across the country; deploying additional officers to non-secured areas at our nation’s airports; and identifying any new targeting rules that should be instituted to strengthen the ways we assess the risk of both passengers and cargo coming to the United States.

As always, we urge our state, local, tribal and private sector partners, as well as the general public, to remain vigilant and report any suspicious activity to federal, state or local law enforcement."

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