By Karen Parrish
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Sept. 5, 2011 – Defense Department officials are “keenly aware” that terrorist attacks are possible as the 10th anniversary of 9/11 approaches, a department spokesman told Pentagon reporters today.
Marine Corps Col. Dave Lapan also told reporters that DOD’s threat assessment is in line with that of the Department of Homeland Security.
He quoted a statement by DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano, released today: “There is no specific or credible intelligence that al-Qaida or its affiliates are plotting attacks in the United States to coincide with the 10-year anniversary of 9/11.”
From the DOD perspective, Lapan said, “We will obviously be … watching closely [and maintaining] increased vigilance. We may take additional security steps based on information.”
There is always a risk of “aspirational” terrorist attacks against the United States from al-Qaida and other groups, he noted.
“After the raid on the bin Laden compound, we turned up information that suggested that attacks around the anniversary of 9/11 is something they were pursuing,” Lapan said.
That information was very general, however, and no specific attack plans have come to light, the colonel added.
Lapan noted that officials at U.S. military installations may increase force protection measures based on information they review regularly.
Napolitano’s statement continued: “Homeland security is a shared responsibility, and everyone plays an important role in helping to keep our communities safe and secure. We remind our federal, state, local partners and the public to remain vigilant and to report any suspicious activity to local law enforcement authorities.”