Is a major terrorist attack imminent?

Something seems to be brewing among jihadist terrorists, with officials in Europe and the United States on high alert.

US and European officials said Tuesday they have detected a plot to carry out a major, coordinated series of new terror attacks in the United Kingdom, France, Germany and possibly the United States.

A senior US official said that while there is a “credible” threat, no specific time or place is known. President Obama has been briefed about the threat, say senior US officials.

Intelligence and law enforcement authorities in the US and Europe said the threat information is based on the interrogation of a suspected German terrorist allegedly captured on his way to Europe in late summer and now being held at Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan.

US law enforcement officials say they have been told the terrorists were planning a series of “Mumbai-style” commando raids on what were termed “economic or soft” targets in the countries. . . .

The captured German reportedly said several teams of attackers, all with European passports, had been trained and dispatched from training camps in Waziristan and Pakistan. Officials say the German claimed the attack plan had been approved by Osama Bin Laden.

via ‘Credible But Not Specific’ Threat of New Terrorist Attack – ABC News.

But it may be that the plot has been disrupted to the point that the plans will not be carried out.  In the meantime, there are sure lots of nervous law enforcement officers, as we see in Georgia:  “A team of federal agents has been stopping tractor-trailers on Interstate 20 just west of Atlanta, inspecting each truck as it passed through a weigh station, and Channel 2 has learned its part of a counter-terrorism operation.”

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • Carl Vehse

    One is left to wonder from reading “Is a major terrorist attack imminent?” whether we may be dealing with some Amish group or perhaps some radical Mennonite sect. And it wasn’t until I got near the end of the ABC article that there was small statement from the Hamburg interior secretary hinting that his city cannot become a cradle for “Islamists capable of violence.”

    Whoddathunkit! “Islamists capable of violence”? Sort of like “fish capable of swimming.”

  • Carl Vehse

    One is left to wonder from reading “Is a major terrorist attack imminent?” whether we may be dealing with some Amish group or perhaps some radical Mennonite sect. And it wasn’t until I got near the end of the ABC article that there was small statement from the Hamburg interior secretary hinting that his city cannot become a cradle for “Islamists capable of violence.”

    Whoddathunkit! “Islamists capable of violence”? Sort of like “fish capable of swimming.”

  • Winston Smith

    I call baloney. Nothing is going to happen.

  • Winston Smith

    I call baloney. Nothing is going to happen.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    “One is left to wonder from reading ‘Is a major terrorist attack imminent?’ whether we may be dealing with some Amish group or perhaps some radical Mennonite sect” (@1).

    Fascinating. I was unaware of Amish “training camps in Waziristan and Pakistan”, or the Amish belief in “jihad”. Similarly, it comes as a surprise to me that Osama Bin Laden would be approving plans for the Amish.

    I guess you learn something new every day. I’m going to have to alert my parents to the dangers inherent in their Amish furniture. Who knows what terrorist messages are embedded in that desk?

    As to the actual article, I am reminded of how many times we went through this rigamarole during the Bush administration. In fact, it’s surprising — no, strike that, no longer surprising — how often Obama does something that reminds me of the previous administration. And yet Bush remains a good guy, Obama is evil incarnate, and I continue to be accused of being Obama’s love slave.

    Is a terrorist attack imminent? Sure. Maybe. Sort of like the imminence of the “Big One” earthquake in any number of West Coast cities.

    As always, though, it is a good rule to ask yourself about the timing of such vague announcements. After all, it’s not like there’s anything we can do about them, so why are we being told? Is it to frighten us to action? There is an election coming up. Such announcements were not unknown before elections from 2000-2008, as I recall. Or, conversely, if the story is of a successfully quashed, but otherwise unannounced, terrorist plot, are we to believe that our administration is successful in keeping us safe?

    The answer to all these questions, of course, being quite honestly: Who knows? Not I.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    “One is left to wonder from reading ‘Is a major terrorist attack imminent?’ whether we may be dealing with some Amish group or perhaps some radical Mennonite sect” (@1).

    Fascinating. I was unaware of Amish “training camps in Waziristan and Pakistan”, or the Amish belief in “jihad”. Similarly, it comes as a surprise to me that Osama Bin Laden would be approving plans for the Amish.

    I guess you learn something new every day. I’m going to have to alert my parents to the dangers inherent in their Amish furniture. Who knows what terrorist messages are embedded in that desk?

    As to the actual article, I am reminded of how many times we went through this rigamarole during the Bush administration. In fact, it’s surprising — no, strike that, no longer surprising — how often Obama does something that reminds me of the previous administration. And yet Bush remains a good guy, Obama is evil incarnate, and I continue to be accused of being Obama’s love slave.

    Is a terrorist attack imminent? Sure. Maybe. Sort of like the imminence of the “Big One” earthquake in any number of West Coast cities.

    As always, though, it is a good rule to ask yourself about the timing of such vague announcements. After all, it’s not like there’s anything we can do about them, so why are we being told? Is it to frighten us to action? There is an election coming up. Such announcements were not unknown before elections from 2000-2008, as I recall. Or, conversely, if the story is of a successfully quashed, but otherwise unannounced, terrorist plot, are we to believe that our administration is successful in keeping us safe?

    The answer to all these questions, of course, being quite honestly: Who knows? Not I.

  • Bryan Lindemood

    I think those are good questions, tODD.
    The timing… Why?

  • Bryan Lindemood

    I think those are good questions, tODD.
    The timing… Why?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    And, of course, I freely admit that the answer could be as simple as: Because this event just occurred, which is why most things make the news, generally.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    And, of course, I freely admit that the answer could be as simple as: Because this event just occurred, which is why most things make the news, generally.

  • Bryan Lindemood

    of course.

  • Bryan Lindemood

    of course.

  • Pete

    Someone told me the sky was falling!

    Not trying to spread panic, or anything…

  • Pete

    Someone told me the sky was falling!

    Not trying to spread panic, or anything…

  • Porcell

    Graham Allison, no alarmist, wrote the following in 2007 that applies today:

    We should ask ourselves every day: Are nuclear materials that could fuel a terrorist’s bomb more or less secure than they were a year ago? Thanks to initiatives like the Nunn-Lugar program, highly enriched uranium and plutonium in Russia are far safer from theft today than they were in the early 1990s. But the risk that terrorists will buy or steal nuclear material from a rogue state increases as more countries acquire the ability to produce weapons-usable material. Therefore it is vitally important to roll back North Korea’s nuclear program and to constrain Iran before it reaches its enrichment finish line. By becoming a nuclear-armed state, each will trigger a cascade of proliferation in its neighborhood.

    The people on this thread who ignore the reality of terrorist threats are naive, wishful souls.

  • Porcell

    Graham Allison, no alarmist, wrote the following in 2007 that applies today:

    We should ask ourselves every day: Are nuclear materials that could fuel a terrorist’s bomb more or less secure than they were a year ago? Thanks to initiatives like the Nunn-Lugar program, highly enriched uranium and plutonium in Russia are far safer from theft today than they were in the early 1990s. But the risk that terrorists will buy or steal nuclear material from a rogue state increases as more countries acquire the ability to produce weapons-usable material. Therefore it is vitally important to roll back North Korea’s nuclear program and to constrain Iran before it reaches its enrichment finish line. By becoming a nuclear-armed state, each will trigger a cascade of proliferation in its neighborhood.

    The people on this thread who ignore the reality of terrorist threats are naive, wishful souls.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    And who, exactly, Porcell (@8), is “ignoring the reality of terrorist threats” on this thread? And how does your 2007 article apply to what is being discussed today?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    And who, exactly, Porcell (@8), is “ignoring the reality of terrorist threats” on this thread? And how does your 2007 article apply to what is being discussed today?

  • Winston Smith

    It’s not-so-secret knowledge that the government has long had radiation detection technology quietly in place since the days of the Cold War. That includes satellite as well as ground-based detectors. Any attempt to move about with radioactive material would be instantly detected. It’s not as though you can just drive into downtown Washington or New York with a small nuke in the back seat.

  • Winston Smith

    It’s not-so-secret knowledge that the government has long had radiation detection technology quietly in place since the days of the Cold War. That includes satellite as well as ground-based detectors. Any attempt to move about with radioactive material would be instantly detected. It’s not as though you can just drive into downtown Washington or New York with a small nuke in the back seat.

  • Louis

    Todd @ 3 – Reminds of the old joke:

    What sounds like this: clop, clop, clop, clop, bang! bang! bang!, clop, clop, clop……

    An Amish drive-by shooting.

  • Louis

    Todd @ 3 – Reminds of the old joke:

    What sounds like this: clop, clop, clop, clop, bang! bang! bang!, clop, clop, clop……

    An Amish drive-by shooting.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    A counterpoint, should anyone still be paying attention here.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    A counterpoint, should anyone still be paying attention here.


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