Washington: Federal officials have warned New York City authorities about possible attacks by the al Qaeda militant group around Election Day, putting local law enforcement on alert the weekend before Tuesday’s vote, officials said on Friday. Both the New York Police Department (NYPD) and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey were given the information, the local agencies said.
“We are continuing with the high level of patrols at all of our facilities that we have had in place for some time now,” said spokesman Steve Coleman of the Port Authority, which operates airports, tunnels and bridges around the New York City area. He declined to offer specifics of the warning.
The NYPD said the threat report lacked specifics and was still being assessed. “We are aware of the information. We have been working with the FBI through the Joint Terrorism Task Force and our Counterterrorism and Intelligence Bureaus,” the NYPD said.
The United States has collected intelligence about a possible al Qaeda threat to attack around election time. As a consequence, some agencies sent bulletins to local and state officials flagging the information, a U.S. government source in Washington told Reuters. The source said, however, the nonspecific threat was relatively low level.
“The counterterrorism and homeland security communities remain vigilant and well-postured to defend against attacks here in the United States,” it said in a statement on Friday.
And while federal and state authorities are beefing up cyber defenses against electronic threats to voting systems before Election Day, others are taking additional steps to guard against possible civil unrest or violence.