Al Qaeda threat most serious in years: Lawmaker

Al Qaeda's second-in-command Ayman al-Zawahri speaks from an unknown location, in this still image taken from video uploaded on a social media website. Credit: Reuters
Al Qaeda’s second-in-command Ayman al-Zawahri speaks from an unknown location in this still image taken from video uploaded on a social media website.
Credit: Reuters

The al Qaeda threat that closed U.S. embassies in the Middle East on Sunday is the most serious in years and the “chatter” among suspected terrorists is reminiscent of what preceded the September 11 attacks, a U.S. lawmaker who is briefed on intelligence said.

The State Department closed 21 embassies and consulates and issued a worldwide travel alert warning Americans that al Qaeda may be planning attacks in August, particularly in the Middle East and North Africa.

“There is an awful lot of chatter out there,” Senator Saxby Chambliss, the top Republican on the Senate Intelligence Committee, said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

He said “chatter” – electronically monitored communications among terrorism suspects about the planning of a possible attack – was “very reminiscent of what we saw pre-9/11.”

The threat also has prompted some European countries to close their embassies in Yemen, where an al Qaeda affiliate, al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, is based.

“This is the most serious threat that I’ve seen in the last several years,” Chambliss said.

A U.S. intelligence official told Reuters there was disagreement within the intelligence community over whether the potential target was in Yemen or more broadly in the region, which was why the State Department’s alert described the threat as “possibly occurring in or emanating from the Arabian Peninsula.”

The threat information also is coming ahead of the Eid celebration at the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan later this week and just over a month before the anniversary of al Qaeda’s Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States.

A September 11 attack last year killed the U.S. ambassador to Libya and three other Americans in Benghazi.

Chambliss said one of the surveillance programs revealed by former spy agency contractor Edward Snowden had helped gather intelligence about this threat.

Those programs “allow us to have the ability to gather this chatter,” he said. “If we did not have these programs then we simply wouldn’t be able to listen in on the bad guys.”



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Mutant worms stay sober, even on alcohol

U.S. researchers have developed "mutant worms" that do not get drunk by alcohol, a breakthrough that could lead to new treatment for people trying to quit drinking

Local

K-9 nose helps capture $150K in cocaine at…

A furry, four-legged security agent helped authorities stop an illegal cocaine shipment from sneaking past JFK customs.

National

Minnesota man asked to leave Southwest flight after…

A man and his two sons were asked to leave a Southwest Airlines flight after the man sent a tweet complaining about being treated rudely by a gate agent.

National

Man sues hospital after surprise penis amputation

An Alabama man who went in to a hospital last month for a circumcision awoke after surgery to find his penis had been amputated, his lawyer said on Thursday.

Movies

Review: Brett Ratner's big 'Hercules' movie is small…

The latest "Hercules," starring Dwayne Johnson as the half-god beefcake of Greek myth, strips its hero and tale of most of its fantastical elements.

Arts

Scientists recreate world's smallest Monet copy

Scientists have reproduced a famous Impressionist painting using nano-printing, to create what has been described as the world's smallest work of art. Reworked at the…

Television

Jerry Seinfeld is ambidextrous, and other Reddit AMA…

See some of the weirder highlights of Jerry Seinfeld's recent Reddit AMA.

Going Out

Grab a pedestrian and start dancing at What…

As a New Yorker, I’ve mastered the art of focusing my gaze straight ahead. Though it occasionally piques my interest, the absurdities that play out…

NFL

2014 NFL Fantasy Football Top 100 overall player…

2014 NFL Fantasy Football Top 100 overall player rankings

U.S. Soccer

NYCFC announce signing of Frank Lampard

The tease of a big signing Thursday by new MLS side NYCFC ended up being one rumored for weeks. England midfielder Frank Lampard agreed to…

NBA

NBA great LeBron James sends 800 cupcake apologies…

By Kim PalmerCLEVELAND (Reuters) - NBA star LeBron James, whose recent return to the Cleveland Cavaliers in his home state of Ohio sparked a frenzy…

NFL

Jerry Reese confident with Giants, skipping countdown clocks…

Last year, Giants GM Jerry Reese installed a countdown clock in the locker room to inspire Big Blue to play in their own stadium for Super Bowl XLVIII.

Tech

Forget Wi-Fi: Li-Fi could be the future

Li-Fi technology – developed by Mexican company Sisoft – is wireless internet connectivity using specialized LED light.

Tech

Weather app Climendo might be the most accurate…

The wait for a truly accurate weather forecast could finally be over thanks to a nifty new app called Climendo.

Tech

Napkin Table puts focus off the phone and…

Michael Jan, a design student at Tunghai University in Taiwan, has invented a serviette-picnic blanket hybrid called the Napkin Table.

Style

Essie's new Color Boutique

Essie launches high-tech kiosks at major airports and malls across the country.