US report warns of al-Qaida terror threat to utility plants

Department of Homeland Security warns violent extremists have obtained insider positions at chemical, oil refineries, plan Sept. 11 attack.

July 21, 2011 10:18
1 minute read.
Ground Zero NYC New York

Ground Zero NYC New York_311. (photo credit: Reuters)

US officials fear al-Qaida will attempt a massive September 11 anniversary attack by sabotaging a major utility facility with the use of insiders that the terrorist organization has successfully planted in such facilities, a US intelligence report released on Wednesday states.

ABC quoted the new US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) report as warning that violent extremists have obtained such insider positions and are planning physical and cyber attacks at a major facility, including a chemical or oil refinery.

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"Based on the reliable reporting of previous incidents, we have high confidence in our judgment that insiders and their actions pose a significant threat to the infrastructure and information systems of US facilities," the report reads. "Past events and reporting also provide high confidence in our judgment that insider information on sites, infrastructure, networks, and personnel is valuable to our adversaries and may increase the impact of any attack on the utilities infrastructure."

Although the US State Department says no specific threat exists, materials recovered during the operation that killed Osama bin Laden in May suggest that al-Qaida seeks to carry out an attack on or around the tenth anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attacks.

"While DHS has no specific, credible intelligence of an imminent threat posed to the private sector utilities, several recent incidents highlight the on-going threat to infrastructure in the utility sectors from insiders and outsiders seeking facility-specific information that might be exploited in an attack," ABC quoted DHS press secretary Matt Chandler said. "We will continue to work closely with our state and local partners, including our partners in the utility sector, to take steps to best protect from potential threats – including protecting our nation's infrastructure. This includes sharing information as well as best practices."

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