MODERATE (Level 3) Available intelligence and recent events indicate that hostile elements have the capability to take action against the target and that such action is within the adversary's current intent. It is assessed that an attack or action is likely to be a priority and might well be mounted.
On 7 September 2011 Arabic language analysts of the Targeted Actionable Monitoring Center (TAMC) intercepted jihadist communications calling for the targeting of bridges, tunnels, and dams in the United States.
The Targeted Actionable Monitoring Center is releasing additional specific information dealing with the targeting of highway system assets in the New York metropolitan area.
TAMC analysts note that the intercepted communication provided specific information on the way to target the identified bridges:
Allah knows the weaknesses of those bridges. It is the steel ropes that connect the bridge from its top to the ground and close to the river beach. Those cords are considered the fundamentals of the bridge. In order to destroy those bridges or to make the authorities close it for rebuilding, a man needs to target those ropes easily with a small amount of explosives that does not cost a lot of money. A strong wind will do the rest and make the bridges collapse.
Remember also that if you cut only one rope, the authorities will declare an emergency, close the area down, and cost a lot of money.
Analysts note that a photograph of a suspension bridge was included in the jihadist targeting guidance. The photograph has an arrow pointing to the area identified in the written instructions.
TAMC analysts note that, along with the bridges in the New York City area, the Lincoln Tunnel and Holland Tunnel were also listed in the targeting document.
In an earlier intercept by the TAMC dated 7 September 2011, analysts noted that the communication included a map specifically identifying the targeting of:
Throgs Neck Bridge
TAMC analysts note the continued focus on New York City as a primary target.
Analysts note that the targeting of a bridge or tunnel, even when the total destruction of the asset is not achieved, is consistent with previous terrorist targeting guidance.
As TAMC analysts noted in the previous Alert, previous terror attacks on tunnels and bridges have not succeed in totally destroying the bridges. They have, however, influenced the use of those transportation assets.
Jihadist terror organizations continue to identify the importance of targeting bridges and tunnels, especially in the New York City area.
TAMC analysts note the continuing jihadist focus on the targeting of major pieces of infrastructure and the desire to execute such an attack.
TAMC analysts note that the adversary's capability is unknown at this moment but TAMC SMEs are exploring their current capabilities to execute such an attack.