U.S. reissues worldwide travel caution
By Andrea Koppel and Elise Labott
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The State Department warned Americans around the world they are still at "increased risk of terrorist actions from extremists groups" after the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
A pre-existing worldwide caution was updated Friday to reflect that the U.S. government was now "deeply concerned about the security of Americans overseas."
"Following the attacks on September 11, we have continuing concern based on threatening rhetoric from extremist groups and the potential for further terrorist actions against American citizens and interests," the warning said.
There were increased threats to Americans by Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda network and other related extremist groups, a State Department official said. He noted that the department has authorized the departure of non-emergency personnel from 10 U.S. posts in five countries: Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Indonesia and Yemen.
The official added that there have been several anti-American demonstrations in front of several embassies around the world, and in some countries -- Indonesia in particular -- police protection for U.S. citizens has been "not quite sufficient."
But a senior State Department official said the caution does spell "impending doom" for Americans around the world.
While he said there has been an increase in threats to Americans immediately following the September 11 attacks, none has been "specific or credible" enough to "elevate the level of U.S. concern."
"Nothing happened today that would elevate the level of concern," the senior official said. "We just are trying to make the public aware that this is an uncertain time."
While some of the threats came from bin Laden and his followers, some have come from "random low-grade local groups" that have "been dormant for years," he said.
For instance, he noted that to a letter bomb sent Thursday to the U.S. embassy in Santiago, Chile, came from an "anti-American, anti-business, anti-Mormon church group."
"You can't get any further away from bin Laden than that," he said.
Officials expect to see more dormant groups "coming out of the woodwork" in the coming weeks, he said.
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