By Jordy Yager - 09/13/11 03:41 PM EDT
Top U.S. counterterrorism and national security officials told senators Tuesday that the “specific and credible” — but unconfirmed — threat set to coincide with the 9/11 anniversary is ongoing and unresolved.
“We consider it an ongoing threat and we continue to lean forward into confirming that threat,” Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said in testimony before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.
Law enforcement agencies in New York City and Washington, including the U.S. Capitol Police, dramatically stepped up their security postures, heightening presence on bridges, public transportation systems and other high-risk areas.
FBI Director Robert Mueller told senators that U.S. counterterrorism officials have conducted numerous interviews and followed up on suspected leads.
“The threat has not been resolved, and until it is resolved it is an outstanding threat that we’re following up on,” Mueller said. “Even though September 11th has now passed, we do not believe that that necessarily means that we should back down.
“Since we first had word of that threat we have conducted hundreds of interviews, we have been pursuing a number of leads and consequently as a result of that we have now been able to eliminate some aspects where we thought we ought to be looking in order to determine whether it was indeed a valid threat, but there’s still work to be done.”
In the days after the threat was announced, a Department of Homeland Security spokesman said information gathered in the raid that killed Osama bin Laden showed al Qaeda’s interest in striking on important dates, but he maintained that the current threat was unconfirmed.