Newly enshrined Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said Thursday that he had intelligence reports suggesting that the Islamic State plotted to attack subway systems within the United States and Paris.
Obama administration officials responded that the intelligence community had not heard of any Islamic State terror plots against U.S. subway systems, according to the Associated Press.
Abadi was “not sure” whether the plots were imminent and added that counter-terror authorities have not yet “disrupted” any plans in the works.
Abadi said from the United Nations General Assembly, where world leaders from all countries had converged: “Today, While I’m here [in New York] I’m receiving accurate reports from Baghdad that there were arrests of a few elements and there were networks from inside Iraq to have attacks… on metros of Paris and US.” He continued, suggesting western Islamists were plotting the attacks from Iraq. “They are not Iraqis. Some of them are French, some of them are Americans. But they are in Iraq,” Iraqi PM Abadi added.
John Miller, the Deputy Commissioner of Intelligence in the NYPD, told reporters that his police department was aware of Abadi’s remarks “and we are in close contact with the FBI and other federal partners as we assess this particular threat system.”
National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden said regarding the report: “We take any threat seriously and always work to corroborate information we receive from our partners.” She added, “We’re obviously very focused on the issue of foreign fighters, as you saw evidenced yesterday at the [United Nations] Security Council session the president chaired.”
The Department of Homeland Security released a memo to the public that stated: “At this time no similar threat reporting can be located. Nor is it clear who, or what agencies in the United States Government were alerted.”
One senior intelligence official responded to the report, telling NBC News that it was “total bunk.”
Abadi did not say if he had any information whether particular subways were being targeted. Therefore, there are 17 possible targets between the United States and France.
The United States has subway systems in the following 11 cities: Atlanta; Baltimore; Boston; Chicago; Cleveland; Los Angeles; Miami; New York City; Philadelphia; San Francisco; and Washington, D.C.
The French Subway apparatus spans the following 6 cities: Lille; Lyon; Marseille; Paris; Rennes; and Toulouse.