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
Local

Mayor pledges lower greenhouse gas emissions from New…

Just hours before the start of the People’s Climate March on Sunday, and two days ahead of the United Nations Climate Summit, Mayor Bill de…

Local

More than 310,000 attend People's Climate March

More than 310,000 people flooded midtown Manhattan Sunday with one main message ahead of the United Nation’s Climate Summit: do something about climate change. Activists…

National

The best places to see the Northern Lights…

A large solar storm hit the Earth's atmosphere and will tonight illuminate the skies with aurora borealis -- also known as the Northern Lights.

Local

Police officer killed Sunday morning Bronx crash, 8…

One NYPD police officer was killed and eight other officers were injured early Sunday morning when the van they were traveling in crashed  in the…

Television

'How to Get Away with' mischaracterizing Shondra Rhimes

Shonda Rhimes read Alessandra Stanley's New York Times piece about her being "an angry black woman" and "a romance writer" and it did not sit well with her.

Gossip

New nude celebrity selfies leak … and Clay…

A new batch of nude selfies of Rihanna, Kim Kardashian, Vanessa Hudgens, Lake Bell and Avril Lavigne hit the web and Clay Aiken has something to say!

Television

James Spader's route to villainy on "The Blacklist"

In honor of the second season premiere of "The Blacklist" tonight, where James Spader plays good guy/bad guy Raymond “Red” Reddington, it’s a good time to look back at Spader’s…

Television

True Detective

NFL

Rashad Jennings carries Giants in first win this…

Rashad Jennings, who came to New York from Oakland last year, by way of Jacksonville, was highly coveted this offseason by general manager Jerry Reese.

NFL

Oday Aboushi ready for increased role, and to…

Oday Aboushi might feel comfortable enough to engage in some trash talk the next time he is on the field.

NFL

Giants vs. Texans: 3 things to watch

The Giants host the surprising Texans (2-0) in what may already be a must-win game for Big Blue.

NFL

Eric Decker misses practice again, could miss Monday

Jets wide receiver Eric Decker missed practice Thursday as he continues to rehab a hamstring injury suffered last Sunday.

Career

Here's how to make the most of visit…

You’re primped, you’re looking polished, you’re prepared with a stack of resumes. Job fair hunters, unite! There are a few things to keep in mind…

Education

Learn how to study effectively and stop cramming…

Picture this: It’s midterm week, and college students everywhere are trying to frantically memorize all of the math formulas, political theories and historical facts that…

Parenting

How motherhood inspired Bethenny Frankel's new book

Bethenny Frankel's new children's book is about how her daughter and dog didn't always get alone.

Parenting

A sneaky way to serve kids fruits and…

"My First Juices and Smoothies" gives smoothie recipes for kids.