As voters across the United States prepare to head to the polls on Tuesday, there are unconfirmed reports that al Qaeda could be planning terrorist attacks in at least three states on the eve of the presidential election. There are also additional concerns about possible “lone wolf” and “homegrown” militant attacks at polling places on Election Day and at the winning candidate’s victory celebration in New York City.
Warnings about possible terrorist attacks have become the norm as potential threats tend to increase as major events and holidays approach and while the credibility of potential Election Day attacks has yet to be confirmed, CBS News reports that U.S. authorities are taking the threats seriously.
According to Reuters, New York, Texas, and Virginia are all considered to be possible targets. Although no exact cities have been specified, law enforcement authorities are said to be on “high alert” after receiving a warning by the feds about a possible terrorist attack by al Qaeda on the eve of the presidential election and Election Day itself.
In addition to the states listed above, CBS reports that polling places nationwide are “being seen as attractive targets for lone wolf-type attacks” on November 8.
According to a report from the New York Post, the NYPD is planning an “extraordinary” police presence in New York City on Tuesday night. Both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton have booked venues that will host either their victory celebration or a gathering for their defeat.
Republican nominee Donald Trump will appear at the New York Hilton Midtown on Sixth Avenue on Tuesday night, and Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton will be at the Javits Convention Center, an all-glass building located on 11th Avenue.
“The counterterrorism and homeland security communities remain vigilant and well-postured to defend against attacks here in the United States,” a U.S. intelligence official told CBS News.
“The public should expect to continue to observe an increased law enforcement and security presence across communities in public places.”
For now, the three states that have been warned by federal officials (New York, Texas, Virginia) are keeping their state and local law enforcement officials on high alert in the days surrounding Tuesday’s election.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott issued a statement this week, with My San Antonio reporting that Abbott is asking Texans to “remain vigilant” as they closely monitor the situation.
“Texans should go about their daily lives as usual, but remain vigilant over the next several days and report any suspicious activity to state or local law enforcement. The State of Texas will continue to do everything it can to ensure the safety and security of its citizens.”
Reuters reports that Brian Coy, a spokesman for Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe states that officials are “doing everything” they can to keep residents of the state safe and are confident that people will be able to “vote safely on Election Day.”
On Friday, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio told WNYC’s Brian Lehrer officials are still “assessing the credibility” of possible attacks during the week of the election, but plan to have “extraordinary” police presence when voters head to the polls on Tuesday and during the time that the nominees hold their gatherings in NYC.
Although New York Governor Andrew Cuomo would not confirm that threat, he confirmed that there was a high state of alert for Election Day, telling the NY Post that in the coming days, the state of New York will have “more state police, more National Guard, more soldiers on duty than ever before.”
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