FBI Warns New York, Texas of Al Qaeda Attacks On Election Day Eve

New York City, Texas and Virginia have been put on alert.

Updated
World
2 min read
Federal and state authorities are beefing up cyber defences against electronic threats to voting systems. (Photo: Reuters)

Federal officials have warned authorities in New York City, Texas and Virginia about an unspecific threat of attacks by al Qaeda militants around Election Day, putting local law enforcement on alert days before the vote, officials said on Friday.

A US government source in Washington said some federal agencies sent bulletins to local and state officials flagging the information but that the threat was relatively low level. The New York City Police Department said the threat report lacked specifics and was still being assessed.

Also Read: US Intel Prepare for Possible Election Day Cyber Attacks

"We are aware of the information," the department said in a statement, adding that it was working with intelligence agencies and the Joint Terrorism Task Force.

Al Qaeda Still a Serious Terror Threat

Although some of the attention of US authorities has shifted to Islamic State-inspired attacks, the al Qaeda network has shown resilience more than 15 years after it was responsible for the 11 September attacks on New York and the Pentagon.

Last month, the United States carried out strikes in Afghanistan targeting two of al Qaeda's senior leaders there, and al Qaeda's Yemen branch has posed a risk to merchant ships in waterways nearby.

US intelligence agencies still view al Qaeda and its affiliates as a top counter terrorism priority.

The White House said it was aware of the reported al Qaeda threats and mindful of increased risk of attacks during events such as Election Day.

Texas, Virginia and New York On Alert

Texas Governor Greg Abbott said in a statement his office was monitoring the situation and urged Texans to remain vigilant. In

We are doing everything we can to keep Virginians safe, and we’re confident they are going to be able to vote safely on Election Day.”
Brian Coy, Spokesman, Governor of Virginia

The task force issued a notice identifying the three states as possible targets of an al Qaeda plot, a New York law enforcement official said on condition of anonymity. The official said the type of threat was common but authorities were giving it more attention because of Tuesday's election.

CBS News first reported the threat of attacks, which it said were possible on Monday. The Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Department of Homeland Security did not confirm the reports or comment on details.

In Washington, a Homeland Security official said authorities remained concerned that so-called "homegrown" militants could be inspired to attack within the United States.

Threat of Civil Unrest Looms over Presidential Election

The potential for violence related to the election has already darkened a rancorous presidential race between Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump, on top of the threat of computer hacking and fears that Russia or other state actors could spread political misinformation online or tamper with voting.

While federal and state authorities are beefing up cyber defenses against electronic threats to voting systems, others are taking additional steps to guard against possible civil unrest or violence.

Published: 
Stay Updated

Subscribe To Our Daily Newsletter And Get News Delivered Straight To Your Inbox.

Join over 120,000 subscribers!