On October 23, the FBI issued an intelligence update warning state and local law enforcement of recent reporting that Al Qaeda is targeting the U.S. railway and petroleum sectors. Information from debriefings of Al Qaeda detainees as of mid-October indicates that the group has considered directly targeting U.S. passenger trains.
The U.S. Intelligence Community continues to assess that Al Qaeda plans to
attack targets that they believe would be readily recognized as representing
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 hazardous material
containers. Recently captured Al Qaeda photographs of U.S. railroad engines,
cars, and crossings heighten the intelligence community's concern of this
The attack of the French oil tanker off the coast of Yemen and additional
information from Al Qaeda detainees suggest plans exist to continue attacks
against the global petroleum sector. According to this information, Al Qaeda
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 general
threat reporting on such sectors as, the airline and maritime industries,
financial sector and government facilities and installations.
The United States Government, working with state and local law enforcement,
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
The Department of Transportation security staff, the TSA and the Federal
Railroad Administration have worked closely with the American Association of
Railroads (AAR) to review the current threat data for rails and to implement
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 enforcement
to discuss appropriate measures for their respective communities with their
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 the
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 Organic
Chemical Manufactures Association, National Association of Chemical
Distributors, the Fertilizer Institute and CropLife America. These
organizations are communicating with their members and recommending additional
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.