Vigilance urged on date of bin Laden death
With the one-year anniversary of the killing of Osama bin Laden by U.S. Special Forces on Tuesday, federal agencies warn that attacks here and abroad would be viewed as "a symbolic victory" by terrorists.
Those concerns were outlined in an internal intelligence bulletin issued late Wednesday by the FBI, Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. military's Northern Command, which concluded that although there is no current credible threat against the metropolitan area or other targets, heightened awareness remains key.
"There's no known specific threat to the city because of the anniversary," NYPD spokesman Paul Browne said Thursday, "but the NYPD continues to maintain a robust counterterrorism posture regardless of anniversaries because of past and repeated interest demonstrated by terrorists in returning here to kill New Yorkers."
Bin Laden was shot dead by a Special Forces team May 1, 2011, in his Pakistani compound.
The call for heightened awareness comes on the heels of a Europol report that warns of possible "lone wolf acts" and potential attacks in Europe by al-Qaida and other groups.
Officials cite an al-Qaida emphasis on launching attacks on "symbolic dates," which is the reason for official concern.
"It could be any of these groups," as well as "lone wolf acts," King said, adding: "There might be more . . . [potential threats] over the next few weeks. . . . What it amounts to is that we should stay alert."
At the Suffolk County Police Department, Insp. Stuart Cameron, who heads counterterrorism operations there, said officers were on "heightened awareness" because of the significance al-Qaida puts on anniversary dates. But he said there was no specific threat to the county.
Nassau police spokesman Deputy Insp. Kenneth Lack said the department is aware of the anniversary and is taking appropriate precautions.
With Matthew Chayes