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09.10.11

NYC on High Alert

After receiving threats of 9/11 anniversary attacks officials called 'credible,' New York and Washington, D.C. are ramping up counterterrorism measures and showing force on the streets. Read the latest updates on the alarming chatter.

Dulles Airport Partially Evacuated

Officials at Dulles International Airport evacuated an area around a cargo container and several gates in one of the concourses for several hours Saturday evening after finding a suspicious item. The item was found on Saturday afternoon and members of the Virginia state explosive ordinance disposal team are investigating the situation, according to a spokesman. Two outbound flights were delayed as a result of the search. After an x-ray of the boxes, they were deemed to be not a threat.

NYC Building Catches Fire

This is the last thing a city on edge needs right now. A fire started on the roof of a building in New York City Saturday, and authorities said there were no reports of injuries or people trapped. The fire was started by a transformer at about 3:20 p.m. on the roof of 11 Madison Ave. Fire officials said that 26 units responded to the call. New York City has all hands on deck for security measures+ for the weekend with the tenth anniversary of the Sept. 11th terrorist attacks approaching.

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Alanna Roazzi / EPA-Landov

FBI to Interview Travelers

The FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force plans to interview hundreds of people whose travel patterns may match those of terrorists, officials said Saturday. Intelligence collected from overseas suggested that the suspected attackers are three men who traveled from the U.S. to Pakistan. Officials stress that the questioning is precautionary and will be used to rule people out—especially when they are not even sure the suspects entered the U.S. at all. New York remained on high alert Saturday due to the threat and the anniversary of the Sept. 11th terrorism attacks, although law enforcement officials insisted they had thoroughly investigated and ruled out a suspected car bomb plot.

Massive Security Crackdown in NYC

All hands were on deck Saturday in New York City as federal, state and local authorities ramped up security measures to prepare for the tenth anniversary of the Sept. 11th terrorist attacks. Federal officials said plans for the latest show of force dated back to May, when Osama bin Laden was killed—but the “credible” security threat received on Thursday intensified the efforts. Meanwhile, life in the city went on scheduled events like the U.S. Open, a Mets game and Fashion Week. A fire broke out on the roof of a Madison Ave. apartment building Saturday afternoon around 3:20 p.m., and officials said no one was injured—doing nothing to calm fears for the city on edge.

No Sign Terror Suspects Entered U.S.

Authorities said Saturday that there was no evidence to support an earlier intelligence tip that three suspected terrorists entered the U.S. on a plan to attack on the tenth anniversary of the Sept. 11th terrorist attacks. Counterterrorism officials have been chasing the intelligence tip since last Wednesday, and they said they will remain on high alert through the weekend. But FBI Assistant Director James McJunkin described the tip as “routine,” and said they had only chosen to go public with the information because of the timing. President Obama met with his security team Saturdayl, and White House officials assured Americans that security measures will not be “relaxed” after the threat.

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Spencer Platt / Getty Images

Report: Terror Threat Suspect May Be ID'd
Sept. 10, 2011 11:53 a.m.

Officials may have learned the name of one of the suspected bomb plotters. Officials tell ABC that after a 24-hour intelligence manhunt, including the analysis of flight logs and other documents, they might have learned the name of one of the men suspected of plotting an attack on New York or Washington D.C. The tip that triggered the manhunt was extremely vague: that two men, one described as 5 feet tall, the other 5-foot-8, were planning an attack in New York or Washington on the anniversary of the September 11 attacks. The source also mentioned a third man, who may have gone to Europe. One of their names might be Suliman, the tipster said. Nevertheless, the source was deemed reliable enough to prompt heightened security in both cities, with police setting up checkpoints and closely monitoring mass transit.

Threat Leads to Gridlock in NYC
Sept. 10, 2011 12:02 p.m.

Traffic is backing up in New York City as an army of cops takes special security measures to investigate the "credible" threat of an al Qaeda car bomb, randomly selecting cars on the street for inspection. It took one delivery truck driver two hours to cross the 59th Street Bridge because of a security checkpoint, and then another 40 minutes to get through another checkpoint on Park Avenue. “Bloomberg says to go about your business, but you can’t go about your business because of the traffic,” he told the New York Post. Other sources said officials are urging police to crack down on towing illegally parked cars.

Bag Searches and Checkpoints in NYC, DC
Sept. 10, 2011 8:31 a.m.

Police in New York and Washington D.C. are out in force after intelligence officials received word of a possible al Qaeda plot to set off a car bomb around the time of the 10th anniversary of the September 11 attacks. Police in both cities are searching the bags of passengers on mass transit and checking cars at the entrances of bridges and tunnels. In Washington, the police chief warned that unattended cars parked near critical buildings would be towed. Information about the plot was passed to American intelligence officers Wednesday by a source who has proved reliable in the past. But the informer's knowledge seemed second- or third-hand, and the description of the suspects was vague: They are men, one 5 feet tall and the other 5-foot-8, and the name of one might be Suliman. Government officials say the suspects may be U.S. citizens. “All this information is very, very sketchy,” said a law enforcement official.

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Jin Lee / AP Photo

Obama: "We Refuse to Live in Fear"
Sept. 10, 2011 8:48 a.m.

In an apparent reference to the warnings about possible attacks in New York and Washington, President Obama said in his weekly radio address that “we're doing everything in our power to protect our people.” The reference was part of a larger speech praising the resilience of the American people after the September 11 attacks. "They wanted to terrorize us, but, as Americans, we refuse to live in fear," said Obama. He also defended his decision to draw down troops in Iraq and Afghanistan: "After a hard decade of war, it is time for nation building here at home." For tomorrow's 10th anniversary memorial, Obama will visit Ground Zero in New York, the Pentagon, and the field where the United Airlines Flight 93 crashed.

Barack Obama

Suspects Believed to Be U.S. Citizens
Sept. 9, 2011 8:58 p.m.

Two of the three people suspected to be behind Thursday’s “credible” terror threat against New York could be Americans, sources told NBC News Friday. But intelligence officials were quick to say that the information about the suspects was vague. They said they believe that two of the suspects are Americans who flew in through Dubai while the other suspect flew in through Europe, or all three might have been smuggled into Pakistan so their travel records wouldn’t be public. The source only offered partial names, and the names were said to be non-Western names that are “common in the Middle East,” the source said. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton confirmed Friday that the threat came from al Qaeda, while New York escalated security measures in the wake of the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

45 Foiled Terror Plots Since 9/11
By John Avlon

As counterterrorism officials investigate a new "credible" terror threat, records show that there have been at least 45 jihadist terrorist-attack plots against Americans since 9/11—thwarted by intelligence work, policing, and citizen involvement. John Avlon reports.

Al Qaeda Terror Threat Intercepted
Sept. 9, 2011 3:54 p.m.

According to a senior U.S. official, American intelligence networks have intercepted “chatter” from an al Qaeda member in Pakistan that shows intent to launch a terrorist attack in New York or Washington this weekend. Officials say the source has given accurate information before. The attack reportedly is pegged to the anniversary of 9/11 and suggests that Ayman al-Zawahiri, al Qaeda’s new head, is behind the plot. Earlier, Hillary Clinton confirmed that al Qaeda was behind the threat on New York City. Security officials are searching for three men believed to have entered the country in August, including one U.S. citizen. Early reports said they were looking for two rental trucks, but they have since been recovered and proved to have no connection to the suspected plot. Meanwhile, New York City is ramping up security in subways, bridges, tunnels, and other potential targets.

New York City on High Alert
Sept. 9, 2011 12:32 p.m.

New York City police are determined not to let a “credible” terrorist threat endanger lives and disrupt memorials planned for the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. As the city ratcheted up its alert to the highest level Friday, police ramped up their presence on subways, bridges, tunnels, and other potential targets. La Guardia, JFK, and Newark airports have also intensified checking procedures for the weekend. Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who took the subway to work this morning, stopped short of giving information of a new threat, but instead said that it was too “outlandish” to be taken seriously. Through the weekend, police will be on duty for an extra four hours and employ bomb-sniffing dogs and radiation detectors.