The FBI and Homeland Security Department say they have no indication that terrorists are targeting the U.S. or its citizens as part of a new threat against Europe.
According to an intelligence bulletin obtained today by The Associated Press, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Homeland Security say they do believe that the al-Qaeda terrorist network continues to want to attack the United States, but there is nothing pointing to anything specific, imminent or related to the European plots.
They warn law enforcement authorities to be on the lookout for suspicious activity, as it's more difficult to detect terror plots carried out by individuals or small groups.
"We are aware of, and closely monitoring, recent reporting indicating a terrorist threat to Europe," the bulletin said. "At this time, there is no indication that the reported threat is directed specifically toward the United States, its citizens, or infrastructure; however, we assess that al-Qaeda and its affiliates continue to plot against the Homeland and US allies," it said.
The U.S. yesterday issued an alert to Americans living in or traveling to Europe to be vigilant because of the terror plots there. Earlier, former Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said that Americans planning trips to Europe needed to pay close attention to the security alert.
Chertoff, who headed the agency during George W. Bush's presidency, said the State Department's alert means tourists should take commonsense precautions, such as knowing where they are and identifying an exit strategy if necessary. Chertoff was interviewed in the wake of the Obama administration's decision to release a travel alert yesterday in response to reports of a possible terrorist threat against Britain, France and Germany.
He advises travelers to consider "where would you take shelter if something happened." Chertoff said: "Don't walk around with the American flag on your back. "As you know they haven't raised the alert level here," he said on ABC television's 'Good Morning America.' "The first thing officials do when they get this kind of threat information," he said, "is to ask whether there is any connection."