The warnings that closed 19 U.S. embassies and consulates last week represented the most credible terrorist threat since the September 2001 terrorist attacks, U.S. Sen. Richard Burr said Wednesday.
And Burr, a Republican from North Carolina who is a member of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, said the odds are “extremely high” that terrorists behind the threat will attack.
“I can’t say when or where,” Burr told the Observer. “Without the elimination of the individuals, it’s impossible for me to conclude that the threat or the intent has gone. … I’ve never had a threat that worries me as much as this one does.”
Burr made his comments after a closed-door luncheon with Charlotte Chamber leaders.
The State Department ordered the diplomatic posts closed last week in response to threats from al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula.
An official in Yemen, where the organization is based, claimed earlier this week that the nation had thwarted a plot to take over cities and oil and gas installations in an eastern province.
“I think it delayed the implementation (of an attack), but I don’t think it’s thwarted it,” Burr said.
National Geographic reported online this month that U.S. officials intercepted a conference call between Ayman al-Zawahiri, al-Qaida’s leader, and a dozen chiefs of its affiliates, including al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula.
McClatchy’s Washington bureau contributed.
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