It was inevitable and the timing couldn’t be closer to the anniversary of that fateful day 10 years ago. Nearing 9/11 on Sunday, officials in New York working closely with the CIA announced publicly on Thursday night that credible evidence of a coordinated attack by three men with close ties to Al Qaeda was of high possibility. As if we couldn’t see this coming from miles away, the announcement had to be made.
First responders, law enforcement agencies and city officials are on high alert while New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg is telling citizens to be vigilant, cautious of suspicious activity but to of course remain calm and to go about daily business.
Details are sketchy at best as the general public is not privileged to knowing the exact details of what, who and where is the exact target. Understandable given what can transpire if too much information is released. What we do know is that intelligence officials have uncovered information spanning back from Operation Neptune Spear or the raid and death of Osama Ben Laden on May 2, 2011. By piecing together months of information it’s believed that Al Qaeda’s new No. 1 leader, Ayman al-Zawahiri is believed to have recruited three terrorists. These three are to travel into the United States with the mission of setting off an undisclosed number of car-bombs anywhere from Washington D.C. to New York. Obviously it’s assumed that these attacks are to be executed on or near the anniversary of 9/11.
The significance of Sunday will also put many U.S. citizens at risk that may be away from the metropolitan areas mentioned as thousands of ceremonies will span the country from East to West. And we’re also talking about the opening week of the National Football League. Minus the two teams (Green Bay and New Orleans) who played on Thursday night, 15 games will be played in 15 major cities (including one in Miami on Monday night). We’re talking about an average of 68,240 fans attending each game on Sunday plus another 30,338 fans in 15 Major League Baseball stadiums as well*. The point being; it’s not just D.C. and NYC that will be on high alert with an abundance of people gathered in one high volume area.
As Sunday approaches let’s put everything into perspective. Have we faced warning like this before? Yes. Should we always be on the lookout whether it’s a day to commemorate 9/11 or just another Sunday? Of course. And do we panic? No. But there’s no doubting that in light of what Sunday signifies the information that the intelligence community has uncovered in the last 48 to 72 hours and the thousands of people that will gather at sporting events and ceremonies across the county we all must be on extra alert. We can’t be forced into living in fear but to help prevent a future attack on the same magnitude as the towers and pentagon attacks then we all must remain cognizant of anything out of the ordinary. So while you take part in any of the planned 9/11 ceremonies on Sunday, just remember to go about your business while remaining observant as well. Have a safe weekend and never forget those lost on September 11, 2001.
*Statistics supplied by the NFL and MLB during 2009 and 2010