intelligence agencies early this month eavesdropped on two suspected
al-Qaida operatives discussing potential terrorism in Texas timed
for the July Fourth weekend, raising fears of an attack on energy
facilities in the Houston area, the Houston Chronicle reports.
information, which did not specify a target, an exact time or a
type of terrorist attack, was passed along to state officials.
get these reports on a regular basis," an official with the
Department of Homeland Security said. "We are currently in
the process of assessing the credibility of the report concerning
Texas. We have informed the authorities in Texas of the information
we received and told them we were trying to determine its credibility."
possibility that al-Qaida terrorists inside the United States were
plotting attacks was highlighted last week with the arrest of Iyman
Faris, an Ohio truckdriver who pleaded guilty May 1 to plotting
to bring down the Brooklyn Bridge. Faris began cooperating with
the FBI after his guilty plea and had been helping authorities gather
information on other suspected domestic terrorists.
Texas as the target, officials are especially concerned about oil
or gas facilities and pipelines because al-Qaida terrorists in the
past have talked about attacking the energy sector as a way of damaging
America's economy, officials said.
are aware of this threat, but beyond that we can't comment,"
said Tela Mange, a spokeswoman for the Texas Department of Public
Safety. "We are going to be checking out different things to
see what we can find, but that is all that I can say."
after the Sept. 11 attacks, the oil refineries and port facilities
of East Texas were recognized as vulnerable targets that could be
attractive to terrorists. In recent weeks, the Homeland Security
Department announced about $30 million in grants to upgrade security
at port facilities where oil is shipped in Houston and Beaumont.