* Intelligence bulletin: Militants still intent on attacks
* Biden recalls bin Laden raid on campaign trail
(Adds U.S. intelligence bulletin)
By Alister Bull and Mark Hosenball
WASHINGTON, April 26 President Barack Obama has
reviewed potential threats to the United States before next
week's anniversary of the killing of Osama bin Laden, but there
is no concrete evidence al Qaeda is plotting any revenge
attacks, the White House said on Thursday.
U.S. Navy SEALs shot bin Laden last year in a raid on the al
Qaeda leader's compound in Pakistan before dawn on May 2 local
time, which was May 1 in the United States. The killing is
touted by the Obama administration as one of its top national
"At this time, we have no credible information that
terrorist organizations, including al Qaeda, are plotting
attacks in the United States to coincide with the anniversary of
bin Laden's death," White House press secretary Jay Carney said
That assessment was echoed in an FBI and Department of
Homeland Security intelligence bulletin issued on Wednesday to
state and local law enforcement agencies.
The bulletin said U.S. agencies did "assess that al Qaeda's
affiliates and allies remain intent on conducting attacks in the
Homeland, possibly to avenge the death of bin Laden, but not
necessarily tied to next month's anniversary."
It added that individuals had "posted messages threatening
unspecified attacks in the Homeland that coincide with the
anniversary on violent extremist Web forums." But the bulletin
added that "such threats are almost certainly aspirational."
Carney said that Obama reviewed the "threat picture as we
head into the anniversary of the bin Laden takedown," and he
emphasized the risk of revenge by al Qaeda remained real.
News of the demise of the man behind the Sept. 11, 2001,
attacks on New York and Washington was widely celebrated in the
United States. But it fanned anti-American sentiment in the
Muslim world, particularly Pakistan, which was deeply
embarrassed by the raid inside its own territory.
The New York Police Department also said it was unaware of
any threat related to the bin Laden killing anniversary.
"But the NYPD continues to maintain a robust
counterterrorism posture regardless of anniversaries because of
past and repeated interest demonstrated by terrorists in
returning here to kill New Yorkers," said Paul Browne, the
department's chief spokesman.
As well as being a national security issue, the approaching
anniversary has also featured in the U.S. election campaign,
with Vice President Joe Biden recalling the moment on Thursday
as he criticized presumptive Republican presidential nominee
Mitt Romney for his foreign policy vision.
"If you are looking for a bumper sticker to sum up how
President Obama has handled what we inherited, it's pretty
simple: Osama bin Laden is dead and General Motors is alive," he
said in a speech in New York. Romney opposed a government
bailout of the U.S. auto industry.
Carney said it was legitimate to discuss bin Laden in the
context of the president's record as he seeks re-election.
"Al Qaeda, led by Osama bin Laden, launched attacks against
this country that took thousands of lives. ... So it is a part
of his foreign policy record, obviously, but it is also part of
a very serious endeavor to keep our country safe," he said.
The anniversary threat warning bulletin, carrying an
"official use only" label and the headline "One-Year Anniversary
of Usama bin Ladin's (sic) Death: No Specific Threat to the
United States," noted that after bin Laden was killed, several
al Qaeda affiliates, including the Pakistani Taliban, the al
Qaeda North African affiliate known as AQIM, and Al Shabaab, an
al Qaeda affiliate in Somalia, "publicly vowed retaliatory
attacks against Western interests."
But the bulletin added that U.S. agencies "have not detected
signs of Homeland plotting by these groups in the intervening
Despite the lack of evidence of a threat, the bulletin
cautioned that al Qaeda "probably would view a homeland attack
on this anniversary as a symbolic victory that would help
reassert the group's global relevance following the major
leadership losses and operation setbacks it has suffered over
the past year."
(Editing by Peter Cooney)