Federal officials have warned local authorities in New York, Texas, and Virginia about a possible terrorist attack by al-Qaeda, on or before Election Day.
According to Reuters, the threat is “unspecific” and relatively “low-level,” while the threat information is “uncorroborated.” One official speculated that it was “just an attempt to inspire someone here to mount an attack.”
A spokesman for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey acknowledged receiving the alert, while the New York Police Department said it was working with intelligence officials and the Joint Terrorism Task Force.
“Texans should go about their daily lives as usual, but remain vigilant over the next several days and report any suspicious activity,” said Texas Governor Greg Abbott, who confirmed his office was monitoring the situation.
“We are doing everything we can to keep Virginians safe, and we’re confident they are going to be able to vote safely on Election Day,” said Brian Coy, a spokesman for Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe.
A U.S. intelligence official told CBS News:
While we do not comment on intelligence matters, we will say the counterterrorism and homeland security communities remain vigilant and well-postured to defend against attacks here in the United States. The FBI and DHS, working with our federal, state and local counterparts, share and assess intelligence on a daily basis and will continue to work closely with law enforcement and intelligence community partners to identify and disrupt any potential threat to public safety.
CBS notes that a previous alert warned local police that polling places were “attractive targets” for “lone wolf” terrorist attacks by “individuals motivated by violent extremist ideologies, sovereign citizen or other extremist activity.”
The Associated Press notes it “wasn’t immediately clear how the intelligence came to investigators’ attention.”