For Immediate Release
October 24, 2002 Washington D.C.
FBI National Press Office
On October 23, the FBI distributed through the NLETS communications
an intelligence update warning state and local law enforcement of recent
reporting that al-Qa'ida is targeting the U.S. railway sector.
Information from debriefings of al-Qa'ida detainees as of mid-October
indicates that the group has considered directly targeting U.S.
passenger trains, possibly using operatives who have a Western
This threat communication followed one issued on October 9, by the FBI,
Office of Homeland Security and other federal agencies, warning of
heightened operational intensity on the part of al-Qa'ida and loosely
affiliated terrorist organizations.
The U.S. Intelligence Community continues to assess that al-Qa'ida plans
attack targets that they believe would be readily recognized as
U.S. economic interests. Additional information suggests operatives may
try a variety of other attack strategies, such as destroying key rail
bridges and sections of track to cause derailments or targeting
containers. Recently captured al-Qa'ida photographs of U.S. railroad
engines, cars, and crossings heighten the intelligence community's
concern of this threat.
The attack of the French oil tanker off the coast of Yemen and
information from al-Qa'ida detainees suggest plans exist to continue
against the global petroleum sector. According to this information,
al-Qa'ida plans to weaken the petroleum industry by conducting
additional sea based attacks against large oil tankers and that such
attacks may be a part of more extensive operations against port
facilities and other energy-related targets including oil facilities and
nuclear power plants.
In addition, the U.S. Intelligence Community continues to receive
threat reporting on such sectors as, the airline and maritime
financial sector and government facilities and installations.
The United States Government, working with state and local law
the railway industry, and other sectors, has begun the immediate
implementation of additional protective measures including increased
presence of law enforcement officers, increased surveillance of critical
areas and improved physical protections.
The Department of Transportation security staff, the TSA and the Federal
Railroad Administration have worked closely with the American
Railroads (AAR) to review the current threat data for rails and to
enhanced rail security measures. AAR represents North American freight
rails as well as Amtrak. On Tuesday, AAR and DOT held a security
briefing for members' law enforcement chiefs about the current threat
information and coordinated implementation of enhanced security
measures. Amtrak has increased patrolling of its facilities and trains
and all freight rails implemented additional security measures. Other
DOT components, including the United States Coast Guard, Federal Transit
Administration and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration have
implemented additional security measures as well.
The FBI Counterterrorism Division has urged state and local law
to discuss appropriate measures for their respective communities with
designated joint terrorism task force and to continue to take all
prudent steps to detect, disrupt, deter, and defend against potential
attacks against critical infrastructure and installations.
The National Infrastructure Protection Center of the FBI has contacted
private sector Information Sharing and Analysis Centers (ISACs) that
represent various sectors of the economy. A primary NIPC mission is to
issue warnings regarding threat conditions to private sector ISACs and
the owners and operators along with appropriate guidance on additional
protection measures to be taken.
The Department of Energy's Office of Energy Assurance has contacted key
energy infrastructure facilities and is working with them to enhance the
security environment to deter and/or disrupt potential attacks.
The Environmental Protection Agency has contacted the American Chemistry
Council, Chlorine Institute, American Petroleum Institute, Synthetic
Chemical Manufactures Association, National Association of Chemical
Distributors, the Fertilizer Institute and CropLife America. These
organizations are communicating with their members and recommending
additional security precautions.
Due to the lack of specificity of method, location, and timing, the
Homeland Security Advisory System threat level will remain at yellow
(elevated), at this time.
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