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NIPC Information Bulletin, 03-001

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National Infrastructure Protection Center

NIPC Information Bulletins communicate issues that pertain to the critical national infrastructure and are for informational purposes only.
Increasing intelligence indicates that the al-Qa'ida terrorist network maintains an ongoing interest in attacking soft, or lightly secured, targets in the United States and/or the Persian Gulf. The likelihood of such targeting may rise in or around the end of the Hajj (a Muslim religious period ending mid-February 2003), according to current intelligence reporting.
During the past five months, al-Qa'ida and affiliated groups attacked a nightclub in a tourist district in Bali, Indonesia, and a hotel in Mombassa, Kenya. Intelligence indicates al-Qa'ida and affiliated groups continue to view apartments and hotels, as well as other soft targets, in the United States and abroad as viable and attractive targets.
Intelligence indicates that various methods of attack could be employed. The recent attacks in Indonesia and Kenya - as well as the August 1998 bombings of two U.S. embassies in East Africa - demonstrate al-Qa'ida's proficiency and willingness to carry out large-scale vehicle bombings. Circumstances surrounding recent arrests in Europe also indicate that al-Qa'ida developed at least a rudimentary proficiency in creating biological and chemical agents. Potential attacks involving radiological weapons should also be considered.
Several U.S. economic sectors should also be considered potential targets, given their significance and past interest by al-Qa'ida:
� The energy sector, including tank farms, refinery facilities, and oil tankers.
� The financial sector.
� Key transportation links, including bridges, tunnels, railways, subways, and civil aviation.
As well, current intelligence suggests that the al-Qa'ida network maintains an ongoing interest in attacking:
� Symbolic targets, such as national monuments and recreation and amusement parks.
� U.S. symbols of power, such as the White House, the Capitol, and other federal buildings.
The national threat level has been raised from ELEVATED" (YELLOW) to "HIGH" (ORANGE). This action is based on specific intelligence received and analyzed by the full U.S. intelligence community.
This communication also provides potential indicators of threats involving weapons of mass destruction.
In addition to continuing all precautions from the lower threat condition (Yellow), the following general protective measures may be utilized. Recipients are advised to take other appropriate steps, in conjunction with local conditions, policies, and procedures. The list that follows is not intended to be exhaustive, but merely illustrative:
-- coordinate necessary security efforts with Armed Forces or law enforcement agencies.
-- take additional precautions at public events.
-- review contingency plans to work at an alternate site or with a dispersed work force.
-- review plans to restrict access to facilities.
-- announce threat condition high (orange) to all employees.
-- review policy and plans relating to restricting access to critical facilities and infrastructure.
-- conduct periodic inspections of building facilities and HVAC systems for potential indicators/irregularities
-- direct people to the Red Cross website for further review of protective measures for families and businesses.
-- enhance security at critical facilities.
-- institute/increase vehicle, foot and roving security patrols.
-- implement random security guard shift changes.
-- increase visibility in and around perimeters by increasing lighting and removing or trimming vegetation.
-- implement stringent identification procedures to include conducting "hands on" checks of security badges for all personnel, if badges are required.
-- remind personnel to properly display badges, if applicable, and enforce visibility.
-- rearrange exterior vehicle barriers to alter traffic patterns near facilities.
-- arrange for law enforcement vehicles to be parked randomly near entrances and exits.
-- approach all illegally parked vehicles in and around facilities, question drivers and direct them to move immediately. If the owner can not be identified, have vehicle towed by law enforcement.
-- if possible, institute a vehicle inspection program to include checking under the undercarriage of vehicles, under the hood, and in the trunk. Provide vehicle inspection training to security personnel.
-- instruct citizens to report suspicious activities, packages and people, and report all suspicious activity immediately to local law enforcement.
-- x-ray packages, if possible, prior to entry, and inspect handbags, and briefcases, if possible.
-- encourage personnel to avoid routines, vary times and routes, and pre-plan with family members and supervisors.
-- validate vendor lists for all routine deliveries and repair services.
-- restrict vehicle parking close to buildings.
-- inspect all deliveries and consider accepting shipments only at offsite locations.
-- require identification, sign-in, and escorts for visitors.
-- instruct people to be especially watchful for suspicious or unattended packages and articles either delivered or received through the mail.
-- send a public information officer to the state joint information center.
-- install special locking devices on manhole covers in and around critical infrastructure facilities.
-- initiate a system to enhance mail and package screening procedures (both announced and unannounced).
-- review current contingency plans and if not already in place, develop and implement procedures for receiving and acting on: threat information, alert notification procedures, terrorist incident response procedures, evacuation procedures, shelter in place procedures, bomb threat procedures, hostage and barricade procedures, chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) procedures, consequence and crisis management procedures, accountability procedures and media procedures.
--unusual/suspicious packages or containers, especially those found in unlikely or sensitive locations, such as those found near air intake/HVAC systems or enclosed spaces.
--unusual powders or liquids/droplets/mists/clouds, especially found near air intake/HVAC systems or enclosed spaces.
--signs of tampering or break-in to a facility or maintenance/utility area
--reports of suspicious person(s) or activities, especially those involving sensitive locations within or around a building
--dead animals/birds, fish, or insects
--unexplained/unusual odors. Smells may range from fruity/flowery to sharp/pungent, garlic/horseradish-like, bitter almonds, peach kernels, and new mown grass/hay.
--unusual/unscheduled spraying or discovery of spray devices or bottles
The NIPC encourages individuals to report information concerning suspicious activity to their local FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF) office,, the NIPC, or to other appropriate authorities. Individuals can reach the NIPC WATCH AND WARNING UNIT at
(202) 323-3205, tol1 free at 1-888-585-9078, or by email to
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