Oct. 11 -- The FBI has issued a chilling but vague warning that new terror attacks may be launched against the United States in the coming days.
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"Certain information, while not specific as to target, gives the government reason to believe that there may be additional terrorist attacks within the United States and against U.S. interests overseas over the next several days," the FBI said in a release issued this afternoon.
Since the Sept. 11 suicide hijacking assaults on the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and Pennsylvania, U.S. officials have consistently maintained a high state of alert for possible future attacks. But this is the first formal warning issued by the FBI.
"The FBI has again alerted all local law enforcement to be on the highest alert and we call on all people to immediately notify the FBI and local law enforcement of any unusual or suspicious activity," the release continued.
The new warnings have been prompted by what law enforcement sources say is new intelligence. Before warning the public, the FBI had been asking federal offices, local police and utilities to be on high alert.
In one release provided to the U.S. Treasury Department, the FBI warned of "the need for heightened awareness concerning the potential use of chemical/biological and/or radiological/nuclear weapons of mass destruction as a precautionary measure."
The warning cited no specific threat, but cautioned building officials to be prepared to shut down air handling systems in the event that a terrorist attempted to use ventilation ducts to spread toxic substances.
Change in FBI Focus, Culture
Top U.S. officials today said the federal government was making efforts to thwart another attack.
Attorney General John Ashcroft, interviewed on ABCNEWS Nightline Thursday night, explained how agents had been refocused on terror prevention, amounting to a "a new culture — a culture of prevention."