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STATEMENT BY THE DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY ON CONTINUED AL-QAEDA THREATS

11-21-2003

In the wake of the recent terrorist bombings overseas, the Department of Homeland Security has been aggressively monitoring and assessing information with other Federal agencies and state and local partners on potential terrorist threats to the United States.

The U.S. Intelligence Community continues to receive and evaluate a high volume of reporting indicating possible threats against U.S. interests during the Muslim holiday, Ramadan, and the upcoming holiday season. This reporting, combined with recent terrorist attacks, has created an atmosphere of concern in which increased vigilance here at home is prudent and may be key to deterring or disrupting terrorist attacks.  While the ability to conduct multiple, near simultaneous attacks against several targets is not new for such terrorist groups as Al-Qaeda, the manner in which these attacks are being conducted indicates refined capabilities and sophisticated tactics.  

The Department of Homeland Security remains concerned about Al-Qaeda's continued interest in aviation including using cargo jets to carry out attacks on critical infrastructure as well as targeting liquid natural gas, chemical and other hazardous materials facilities.

In response to this information, the Department of Homeland Security, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Terrorist Threat Integration Center have issued an advisory to security personnel intended to increase the awareness of appropriate state and local authorities and the private sector responsible for security of critical infrastructure and other potential target sets.  In addition, federal officials have contacted state and local homeland security and law enforcement officials, reminding them to maintain a heightened level of awareness, especially during the busy holiday travel season. The national Homeland Security Advisory System will remain at Yellow, or an Elevated level of threat.

The Department of Homeland Security will continue to work with Federal partners in monitoring and assessing all intelligence reporting relative to Al-Qaeda operations.  We recommend that all Americans continue with plans for work or leisure.  Visible security as well as the vigilance of homeland security professionals at all levels of government, the private sector and the general public can make a difference and prevent potential terrorist attacks.