20 Oct 2007

Summer 2007: The Attack That Never Occurred

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Stratfor: Terrorism Intelligence Report – October 17, 2007 by Fred Burton and Scott Stewart:

The summer of 2007 was marked by threats and warnings of an imminent terrorist attack against the United States. In addition to the well-publicized warnings from Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff and a National Intelligence Estimate that al Qaeda was gaining strength, a former Israeli counterterrorism official warned that al Qaeda was planning a simultaneous attack against five to seven American cities. Another warning of an impending dirty bomb attack prompted the New York Police Department to set up vehicle checkpoints near the financial district in Lower Manhattan. In addition to these public warnings, U.S. government counterterrorism sources also told us privately that they were seriously concerned about the possibility of an attack.

All these warnings were followed by the Sept. 7 release of a video message from Osama bin Laden, who had not been seen on video since October 2004 or heard on audio tape since July 2006. Some were convinced that his reappearance — and his veiled threat — was the sign of a looming attack against the United States, or perhaps a signal for an attack to commence.

In spite of all these warnings and bin Laden’s reappearance — not the mention the relative ease with which an attack can be conducted — no attack occurred this summer. Although our assessment is that the al Qaeda core has been damaged to the point that it no longer poses a strategic threat to the U.S. homeland, tactical attacks against soft targets remain simple to conduct and certainly are within the reach of jihadist operatives — regardless of whether they are linked to the al Qaeda core.

We believe there are several reasons no attack occurred this summer — or since 9/11 for that matter.

Read the whole report.

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