Vigilance urged on date of bin Laden death

Apr 26, 2012 Issues: Counterterrorism

Newsday - by JOHN VALENTI AND ANTHONY M. DESTEFANO

With the one-year anniversary of the killing of Osama bin Laden by U.S. Special Forces on Tuesday, federal agencies are advising attacks here and abroad would be viewed as "a symbolic victory" by terrorists.

Those concerns were outlined in an internal intelligence bulletin issued late Wednesday night by the FBI, Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Northern Command, which concluded that although there is no current credible threat against the metropolitan area or other targets, heightened awareness remains key.

"There's no known specific threat to the city because of the anniversary," NYPD spokesman Paul Browne said Thursday, "but the NYPD continues to maintain a robust counterterrorism posture regardless of anniversaries because of past and repeated interest demonstrated by terrorists in returning here to kill New Yorkers."

Rep. Peter King (R-Seaford) told Newsday on Thursday that while "there are no specific threats" against New York we shouldn't be "cavalier" about the potential for terrorist attacks.

The call for heightened awareness comes on the heels of a Europol report -- the TE-SAT 2012 EU Terrorism Situation and Trend Report -- that warns of the possibility of "lone wolf acts" and potential attacks by al-Qaida, Somalia-based al-Shabaab and the Islamic Maghreb one year after a U.S. Special Forces team killed bin Laden on May 1 in Pakistan.

Officials cite an al-Qaida emphasis on launching attacks on "symbolic dates," which is the reason for official concern.

"It could be any of these groups," as well as "lone wolf acts," King said, adding: "There might be more [potential threats] over the next few weeks . . . What it amounts to is that we should stay alert."