WebExPk Affordable Hosting

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Al Qaeda looking to attack US food supply

WASHINGTON, Dec 21 : The group behind last year’s failed Christmas Day bombing and the recent attempt to send two explosives-laden packages to the United States may be looking to attack US food supplies, a US TV channel reported.

A source with knowledge of the situation said authorities obtained information “a while ago” indicating a possible plot by associates of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula to target food at hotels and restaurants inside the United States, perhaps slipping harmful agents into salad bars or buffets.

“We don’t have a specific target or time frame, just the intent,” the source said.

Nevertheless, the source said, authorities are not convinced that Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula – or AQAP – has the capability to actually carry out such an attack.

CBS News was the first to report the threat information, noting that the plot may involve the use of ricin or cyanide. However, the source with knowledge of the situation told Fox News that authorities assessed AQAP’s capability to use those bio-agents in such a manner as “low.”

Officials from the Department of Homeland Security, Department of Agriculture, and Food and Drug Administration have briefed a small group of corporate security officers within the hotel and restaurant industries about the potential threat, according to the CBS News report.

The White House’s chief counterterrorism adviser, John Brennan, recently described AQAP as “now the most operationally active mode of the Al Qaeda network.”

“The group’s leadership clearly seeks to apply lessons learned from past attacks, including those of other groups,” Brennan said Friday during a forum on Yemen at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington. “And their definition of success – stoking fear, even if their attacks fail – portends more such attacks.”

Nevertheless, Brennan said he and his colleagues in the counterterrorism community are “feeling good” that they have put “the appropriate resources in place” to protect against attacks during the current holiday season.

On Christmas Day last year, Umar F. Abdulmutallab of Nigeria tried to detonate his explosives-laden underwear over Detroit. He was allegedly trained and equipped by AQAP. Ten months later, in October, two explosives-laden packages were sent from Yemen to the United States, but the explosives were intercepted overseas after Saudi intelligence officials shared information about the plot.

No comments:

Post a Comment