* No specific threat found; FBI calls briefing “routine”
* “Inspire” magazine under scrutiny from security forces
(Adds details, background)
By Daniel Trotta
NEW YORK, Feb 1 (Reuters) - U.S. security officials warned major Wall Street institutions of a potential threat after an al Qaeda-linked magazine suggested financial markets could be a target of attack, the FBI said on Tuesday.
The meetings with financial institutions took place over a couple of days in January after authorities circulated a bulletin to law enforcement agencies warning about “Inspire” magazine, which bills itself as the periodical of Yemeni-based Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP).
The English-language magazine can be found on the Internet. The cover of a recent edition promoted a story inside with the headline, “Make a bomb in the kitchen of your mom,” by the AQ Chef.
There was no specific or imminent threat, said Jim Margolin, spokesman for the Federal Bureau of Investigation in New York.
But he called the briefings routine every time there is a threat, even when they are vague or of limited credibility. He declined to say how often such briefings have occurred or when the last ones took place.
“In the post-9/11 world we routinely give security briefings to security personnel in various parts of the private sector. This was in the course of a periodic update in the evolving threat stream,” Margolin said.
The briefings, which were first reported by the New York affiliate of NBC television, were conducted by the FBI-led Joint Terrorism Task Force that includes various state and local law enforcement agencies.
Before the briefings, the FBI and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security issued one of their periodic bulletins to thousands of law enforcement agencies in which they analyzed four recent editions of “Inspire.”
“(The magazine) talks about different possible ways to do jihad. One of them talks about how those with degrees in biology and chemistry should develop a weapon of mass destruction. And then there’s a picture of an envelope with the word ‘anthrax’ written on it. But no specifics,” Margolin said.
One security expert said such threats disrupt companies whether or not there is any danger because they must be treated seriously.
Jon Love, president of the security group of mail and document services company Pitney Bowes, said companies should screen all their mail, X-ray all packages and move their mail operations to a different building from their main operations.
“That way if there is a hazard or even if a hoax it can be contained in another facility that won’t cause you to stop your day-to-day operations,” Love said.
(Reporting by Daniel Trotta; Editing by Doina Chiacu and Eric Walsh)
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