Napolitano says US at ‘heightened state of vigilance’ for 9/11

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said the U.S. is “at a heightened state of vigilance,” though there is no specific threat that al Qaeda is planning to launch an attack coinciding with the 10th anniversary of 9/11.

“While there is no specific or credible intelligence that al Qaeda or its affiliates are plotting attacks in the United States to coincide with the 10-year anniversary of 9/11, we remain at a heightened state of vigilance and security measures are in place to detect and prevent plots against the United States should they emerge,” Napolitano said in a statement on Friday.

Napolitano’s comments come fewer than 10 days before the 10th anniversary of the attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people in downtown Manhattan. The attacks also left hundreds dead at the Pentagon and in Pennsylvania, where a fourth plane commandeered by terrorists crashed.

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Authorities have perennially been on guard on the anniversary of the attacks, and this is especially true for the 10-year anniversary. Amtrak earlier this week said it would be taking extra precautions against the possibility of an attack on the rail system. 

Navy SEALs retrieved information from the compound housing Osama bin Laden following his killing that suggested the former al Qaeda head was planning an attack to coincide with the anniversary. The information also suggested al Qaeda was considering an attack on U.S. rails.

Napolitano stressed that defenses that have been put in place since 9/11 are more robust. She also urged U.S. citizens, businesses and government officials to partake in the components of the “See something, say something” campaign, which presses people to come forward with any suspicious activity.

“While threats remain, our nation is stronger than it was on 9/11, more prepared to confront evolving threats and more resilient than ever before,” she said.

“Homeland security is a shared responsibility, and everyone plays an important role in helping to keep our communities safe and secure. We remind our federal, state, local partners and the public to remain vigilant and to report any suspicious activity to local law enforcement authorities."