BART, CalTrain On Alert After Feds Say Al-Qaida Considered U.S. Train Attacks
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SAN FRANCISCO (CBS / AP) — Law enforcement agencies in the Bay Area were keeping watch on Bay Area Rapid Transit and CalTrain on Thursday afternoon after some of the first information gleaned from Osama bin Laden’s compound indicated al-Qaida has considered attacking U.S. trains.
However, U.S. government officials cautioned that they had no recent intelligence indicating such a plot was active.
A U.S. Homeland Security and Federal Bureau of Investigation bulletin sent to police departments in the Bay Area and around the country on Wednesday afternoon said that as of February 2010, the terror organization was considering tampering with an unspecified U.S. rail track so that a train would fall off the track at a valley or a bridge.
This information appeared to be the first widely circulated intelligence pulled from the May 1 raid on bin Laden’s secret compound. After killing bin Laden, Navy SEALs took computers, DVDs and documents from his house.
Intelligence analysts have been reviewing and translating the material, looking for information about pending plots and other terror connections.
“We want to stress that this alleged al-Qaida plotting is based on initial reporting, which is often misleading or inaccurate and subject to change,” Homeland Security spokesman Matt Chandler said. The government has no plans to issue an official terror alert, he said.
“While it is clear there was some level of planning, we have no recent information to indicate an active ongoing plot to target transportation and no information on possible locations or specific targets,” the bulletin sent to law enforcement read.
U.S. officials have disrupted other terror plans that targeted rails, including the 2009 plot to blow up the New York City subway system.
On Monday, the FBI and Homeland Security had warned law enforcement around the country that bin Laden’s death could inspire retaliatory attacks in the U.S.
That warning prompted the San Francisco Police Department to go on heightened alert.
The federal government said at that time that the transportation sector — including U.S. railways — remained attractive targets.
(Copyright © 2011 CBS San Francisco. All rights reserved. Wire services may have contributed to thsi report.)