Federal officials have disclosed they are currently probing potential terrorist threats in three states, warning local law enforcement to remain vigilant leading up to and on Election Day, Nov. 8.
The U.S. Joint Terrorism Task Force has issued notices to New York, Texas and Virginia warning of a possible al-Qaida-inspired lone wolf terrorist attacks at polling places to disrupt elections in those three states. The threat has been described as low-level and not specific.
An anonymous U.S. intelligence official told CBS News the FBI and Department of Homeland Security were monitoring the potential threats and coordinating with local law enforcement.
“The FBI and DHS, working with our federal, state and local counterparts, share and assess intelligence on a daily basis and will continue to work closely with law enforcement and intelligence community partners to identify and disrupt any potential threat to public safety,” the official said.
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U.S. officials suspect that potential attacks could occur on Nov. 7, a day before the U.S. presidential election, to spread fear in Americans heading to the polls.
“There are more than 100 Joint Terrorism Task Forces at work across the country in partnership with state and local law enforcement to prevent attacks in the homeland,” the official added.
Republican Gov. Greg Abbott of Texas confirmed that his office had received the JTTF notice and was collaborating with the Texas Department of Public Safety to ensure security, Reuters reports.
“Texans should go about their daily lives as usual, but remain vigilant over the next several days and report any suspicious activity,” Abbott said in an official statement.
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The New York City Police Department and the Port Authority of New York are currently monitoring their city, its airports, tunnels and bridges.
"We have been working with the FBI through the Joint Terrorism Task Force and our Counterterrorism and Intelligence Bureaus,” the NYPD said in a statement, according to The Washington Times.
Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe of Virginia is also monitoring the situation, urging state residents to not be intimidated out of voting.
“We are doing everything we can to keep Virginians safe, and we’re confident they are going to be able to vote safely on Election Day,” McAuliffe’s spokesman Brian Coy said.
U.S. officials have stressed that the threat lacked substantial evidence and was vague, urging voters in all three states to not panic or be afraid to head to the polling places on Election Day.
“The nature of the threat is general,” said Virginia Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security Brian Moran. “The important thing at this point, no one should be changing their plans based on the information they heard this morning.”