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Wall Street banks alerted of potential terrorist threat

From Deb Feyerick, CNN
  • Counter-terrorism officials met with security at several N.Y. banks after an apparent al Qaeda threat
  • The group's English-language publication, Inspire, suggested targeting government-owned property, banks
  • Alerts have become relatively common since the September 11 attacks

New York (CNN) -- A possible al Qaeda threat against Wall Street banks prompted counter-terrorism officials to meet with security personnel at several financial institutions, a source told CNN Tuesday.

An English-language publication, Inspire, reportedly published by a group called al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, suggested targeting "government-owned property, banks, (and) global corporations," said the source with knowledge of the meetings. "Private (U.S.) citizens should also be targeted," the magazine said, according to the source.

The magazine prompted federal authorities to alert the banks in a process that's become relatively common since the September 11, 2001, attacks.

There were several briefings to accommodate multiple banks, the source said.

Citigroup Security and Investigative Services chief Joseph Petro said he sent a companywide e-mail to employees explaining the potential threat.

"We do not believe that this alleged plot posses any new significant threat to Citi or to our employees," he said in the statement. "Financial institutions have long been on alert for these types of plots and Citi has robust measures in place to protect the safety of our employees and customers."

Petro said his firm would continue to monitor threats.

Other financial institutions in New York, including Barclays, JP Morgan and Goldman Sachs, declined to comment.