Latest Terror Threat Targets Subways
W A S H I N G T O N, May 23 — Federal transportation officials say they have gotten an unconfirmed warning that terrorists are planning attacks on subways in the United States.
The possible attack would involve simultaneous strikes against multiple trains, perhaps using time bombs, said an alert issued Wednesday by the Department of Transportation's Office of Intelligence and Security and obtained by ABCNEWS.
Although the warning specified subways, it advised all rail and transit security officials to review their safety procedures and "implement additional security measures commensurate with the current threat environment."
It emphasized that the threat was not confirmed, but advised the industry to remain on a heightened state of alert.
This latest warning is particularly unsettling to New Yorkers, who have already been told this week that the Brooklyn Bridge or the Statue of Liberty could be targeted by terrorists.
Millions of people ride the city's subways every day.
NYC Threat Came From Al Qaeda Lieutenant
N E W Y O R K, May 23 — A top lieutenant to Osama bin Laden is the source of information that led to a warning of potential terrorist attacks against the Brooklyn Bridge and the Statue of Liberty, a law enforcement official said today.
The official, speaking to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity, said the information, which has been described as uncorroborated, came from Abu Zubaydah, the senior al Qaeda terrorist leader now in U.S. custody.
Zubaydah's role in the terrorism warning was first reported in the Daily News.
Zubaydah is being interrogated by U.S. officials at an undisclosed location. He is believed to have played a key role in organizing the Sept. 11 attacks as al Qaeda's top operational planner.
Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said Wednesday that the detainee who gave FBI officials the information has provided authorities with credible information in the past, but would not discuss what information the detainee had given.
The FBI said the New York warning was not specific about timing or methods.
Authorities canceled a 119th birthday celebration for the Brooklyn Bridge because of the possible threat.
"We could not even contemplate finalizing our plans … because of the concerns that have been raised," said Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz, whose office had been planning the June 2 event.
As al Qaeda's top operational planner, Zubaydah ran the Khalden camp in Afghanistan, where U.S. investigators have learned many of the Sept. 11 hijackers trained. This suggests Zubaydah may have had direct contact with the hijackers and chosen them for training.
He also had telephone contacts with at least one student at U.S. flight schools, according to a July 10, 2001, memo from a Phoenix FBI agent.
The CIA, FBI and Pakistani authorities captured and wounded Zubaydah in a raid in Faisalabad, Pakistan, in March. He is believed to have masterminded the failed millennium bombing plots in Los Angeles and Jordan, and has been linked to failed plots to attack the U.S. embassies in Paris and Sarajevo.
Zubaydah was also indirectly linked, through a web of associations with other al Qaeda members in Europe, to lead Sept. 11 hijacker Mohamed Atta and his cell in Hamburg, Germany. Three members of the Hamburg cell were suicide hijackers; three others are still at large.