Nation on the Lookout for Summer Attacks

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Al Qaeda’s training camps near the Afghan-Pakistani border, combined with their flair for summertime strikes, have U.S. counterterrorism officials on close alert for the possibility of an attack this summer in the United States.

On July 10, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff warned the Chicago Tribune that terrorist groups may be rebuilding. Other anonymous officials are equally worried, especially considering the prominence of terrorist groups in the Afghan-Pakistani border region, where Osama bin Laden and his henchman Ayman al-Zawahri are believed to be hiding.

Additionally, the Associated Press (AP) is reporting that a preliminary intelligence assessment claims Al Qaeda, for the most part, is capable of striking America and is stepping up its attempts to position operatives here. Another disconcerting development is the fact that some people already in the United States are adopting an extreme form of Islam.

The National Intelligence Estimate has not been released yet and must still be approved by numerous intelligence agencies. Still, according to the AP, this classified report claims Al Qaeda is most likely still trying to obtain chemical, biological or nuclear weapons, and would try to use them if able.

The nation’s advantages, according to Chertoff, however, are technology and the watchfulness of ordinary citizens.

So far, the Department of Homeland Security has not raised the nation’s terror alert level. The airlines are currently set at orange (high alert), the second highest setting on the five-point scale. The rest of the country is one level lower at yellow (elevated).

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