The warning came after the FBI received information about general threats to New York City. The intelligence apparently came from detainees being held since attacks on September 11.
“We are taking all necessary precautions and are communicating with the appropriate law enforcement agencies on both the state and federal level,” a statement from New York Police Commissioner Ray Kelly read.
Police have increased security throughout key parts of the city, especially around landmarks like the United Nations headquarters, Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty.
Meanwhile in Washington, the State Department cited Iraq, Iran, Syria, Libya and North Korea, Sudan and Cuba as major state sponsors of terrorism in its newly released global terrorism report for 2001.
Introducing the report, Secretary of State Colin Powell said that terrorists “are trying every way they can to get their hands on weapons of mass destruction, whether radiological, chemical, biological or nuclear.”
Echoing Powell’s remarks, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld warned Congress that several countries — Iraq, Iran, Syria, Libya and North Korea — are actively working to create biological and chemical weapons and can be expected to supply them to terrorists.
“Let there be no doubt, it is only a matter of time before terrorist states armed with weapons of mass destruction develop the capability to deliver those weapons to U.S. cities, giving them the ability to try to hold America hostage to nuclear blackmail,” Rumsfeld said at a subcommittee hearing on the Pentagon’s budget.
The State Department report did acknowledge some progress, noting that Sudan and Libya took moderate steps away from supporting terrorist groups — such as al-Qaida — and demonstrated some support for the international coalition against terrorism.
Iran, North Korea, and Syria also made slight progress in cooperating with the anti-terror coalition, though the report charges that these countries continued to harbor terrorist organizations during the last year.
Despite this progress, the report warned none of the seven nations “has yet taken all the necessary actions to divest itself fully of ties to terrorism.”
It also named Iran as the world’s “most active state sponsor of terrorism in 2001,” asserting the government increased its support for violent anti-Israeli Palestinian groups and accused Cuba and Iraq of doing nothing to fight terrorism.
Secretary Powell told reporters that the 2001 report illustrated the anti-terror campaign must be waged on many fronts, but that the U.S. and its coalition partners had made progress.
“Country by country, region by region, coalition members have strengthened law enforcement and intelligence cooperation,” he said. “We have tightened border controls and made it harder for terrorists to travel, to communicate and therefore to plot. One by one, we are severing the financial bloodlines of terrorism organizations.”
The department’s Coordinator for Counter-terrorism Ambassador Francis X. Taylor cautioned that “additional terrorist attacks are very, very likely.” Like other Bush administration officials who have sounded similar alarms, Taylor did not provide any details.