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Official: Al Qaeda intends to strike in New York

Corporate, financial institutions considered top targets

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NYPD holds counterterrorism drills in high-profile areas.
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Ray Kelly
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(CNN) -- New intelligence indicates al Qaeda is threatening to attack corporate and financial institutions in New York City, a federal law enforcement official has told CNN.

The official said on Saturday the information suggests "there is a new plan in the works."

There are no details on possible methods of attack, and authorities are aware of no specific time frame.

Although the information has not been corroborated, its source is considered credible, the official said.

A New York City official said Saturday that police and members of the Joint Terrorism Task Force, which includes representatives of federal agencies, have met this weekend. The official said city agencies are on high alert.

The New York Police Department issued a statement Saturday, warning, "Intelligence reporting indicates that al Qaeda continues to target for attack commercial and financial institutions, as well as international organizations, inside the United States.

"The New York City Police Department has deployed its resources accordingly."

On Friday, the FBI issued a threat advisory to law enforcement officials in New York.

The nation's threat level is at category "yellow," or elevated, but New York City's has been at "orange," or high, since the September 11, 2001, attacks.

Homeland Security officials spoke with New York Police Commissioner Ray Kelly Friday night and indicated that the attacks might be carried out with car or truck bombs.

Federal officials also met with Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge. There were meetings Friday night and Saturday.

New York police recommended Saturday that companies consider taking precautions, including:

  • Posting security at the fresh-air intake in heating, ventilation and air conditioning rooms, if they are accessible to the public, and keep the rooms locked
  • Challenging maintenance workers when maintenance has not been requested, and watching for unexpected deliveries
  • Testing alarm systems, including those on rooftop doors
  • New York is preparing for the Republican National Convention, which will begin August 30.

    The Department of Homeland Security has named the convention a national special security event, meaning the Secret Service will coordinate security.

    Ridge said in early July that al Qaeda was planning a large-scale attack in "an effort to disrupt the democratic process" before the elections in November.

    CNN's Kelli Arena, Deborah Feyerick and Sharona Schwartz contributed to this report.

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