WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has advised federal agencies to initiate emergency counterterrorism measures to prevent possible al-Qaida car bombings planned during the last days of the Muslim holiday Ramadan, according to an internal department memo obtained by WorldNetDaily.
Citing al-Qaida’s “increasingly sophisticated” car-bombing tactics, it recommends security guards tow all vehicles parked illegally in and around government facilities, if their owners cannot be identified, and inspect the undercarriage and other areas of vehicles entering sensitive areas, among other high-threat protective measures.
Al-Qaida could also target “liquid natural gas, chemical or petrochemical sites near major population centers using multiple vehicle-born improvised explosive devices similar to those recently seen in the attacks in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, and Istanbul, Turkey,” warns the internal department advisory titled, “Continued al-Qaida Threats Abroad and in the Homeland.”
Marked “For Official Use Only,” the five-page memo was distributed Friday to federal departments and agencies, as well as state security managers and first responders.
“This advisory is intended to raise the security awareness of the recipients based on recent terrorist attacks overseas and information suggesting al-Qaida continues to plan attacks against U.S. targets,” the memo says.
It notes there has been at least one major terrorist attack resulting in substantial casualties each week over the past several weeks, and that the attacks have coincided with Ramadan.
“These terrorist bombings, coupled with public proclamations regarding al-Qaida’s intentions to target Western interests, heighten our concern that a threat against the U.S. homeland and U.S. interests abroad continues,” the document states.
The Homeland Security memo warns that al-Qaida might launch attacks “near the end of Ramadan (Nov. 24-27),” which happens to coincide this year with the Thanksgiving holiday.
The government is closed on Thursday, Nov. 27, for Thanksgiving.
But millions of Americans will be traveling throughout the holiday week, and Homeland Security warns in its memo that “we cannot discount multiple attacks involving the use of general-aviation aircraft.”
The department’s current terror threat level stands at yellow, or elevated, indicating there is only a significant risk of terrorist attacks. Publicly, it has recommended Americans continue with plans for work or leisure.
Behind the scenes, however, it has directed federal and state law enforcement, as well as security personnel, to initiate protective measures under its highest threat level – red – a condition when there is an imminent risk of terrorist attacks.
For instance, “Measure R.2” of the department’s internal Threat Level Red recommendations advises government agencies to, among other things: “Identify the owners of all vehicles already parked at state facilities. In those cases where the owner or presence of a vehicle cannot be explained (owner is not present and has no obvious agency affiliation), inspect the vehicle for dangerous items and take steps to remove the vehicle from the vicinity.”
Homeland Security officials insist they have no specific threat. Indeed, the department memo states: “We have no tactical information identifying timing, targets, tactics or locations for these operations.”
However, it goes on to say that “recent information” and attacks reflect “al-Qaida’s desire to repeat a mass casualty attack and/or strike major political and symbolic and economic targets” in America.
The document expresses concern over al-Qaida’s “increasingly refined capability and sophisticated tactic” in carrying out car-bomb attacks. Among examples, it cites the terror group’s new “ramming tactic to gain access to the target” and the use of “innocuous-looking vehicles,” such as “a food catering truck which was detonated by a suicide bomber as it rammed the British consulate.”
It recommends U.S. security personnel take additional protective measures to thwart car-bomb attacks,
[Editor’s note: The Department of Homeland Security
has requested that the following several items, which
previously had been published, not be published. “We
would ask that you not do that for national security
reasons,” Homeland Security press secretary Brian
Roehrkasse told WorldNetDaily Nov. 26. Not all of
the recommended protective measures in the
security-sensitive memo were published. Several remain