Al Qaeda's plans for 9/11 anniversary: attack U.S. rail

Published 6 May 2011

The treasure trove of documents, multimedia, and computers seized in the raid on bin Laden’s hideout is being exploited by intelligence experts for information on the terror network and future plots; on Thursday the FBI and DHS circulated to law enforcement units around the United States the first piece of information from the bin Laden raid: in February 2010 al Qaeda operatives discussed attacks on U.S. trains as a way to commemorate the 9/11 attacks; the discussions show that the planners, in order to achieve a maximum-casualty attack, were thinking of derailing a train so that it plunged into a ravine or fell off a bridge; the FBI-DHS Thursday warning urged local la enforcement to be circulated for clips or spikes missing from train tracks, packages left on or near the tracks, and other indications that a train could be vulnerable

A result under consideration by al Qaeda // Source:

It appears that al Qaeda was planning an attack on U.S. railroads to mark the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. U.S. officials confirmed to Fox News that documents retrieved from bin Laden’s hideout in Abbottabad, Pakistan, show discussions, in February 2010, of how to derail a train to achieve a large number of casualties.

The U.S. officials said that the plans were more aspirational than concrete, and that U.S. intelligence has not picked up chatter about such an attack. Fox News reports that one idea al Qaeda considered was to tamper with an unspecified rail track, causing the train to derail and plunge into a valley or fall off a bridge. The FBI and DHS on Thursday circulated this information to law enforcement units across the United States.

It appears that the train plot is the first piece of information retrieved from the bin Laden’s compound to be circulated to law enforcement.

While it is clear that there was some level of planning for this type of operation in February 2010, we have no recent information to indicate an active ongoing plot to target transportation and no information on possible locations or specific targets,” the FBI-DHS Thursday warning said.

The FBI and DHS advised local officials to be on the lookout for clips or spikes missing from train tracks, packages left on or near the tracks, and other indications that a train could be vulnerable.

An official with the Association of American Railroads told Fox News the organization has received warnings from the federal government and is sharing the information throughout the railroad network. “We are always making sure that the system is run as safely and securely as possible,” the organization’s spokeswoman, Patricia Reilly, said.