A global terror alert linked to al Qaeda has prompted the State Department to take extreme measures and extend the closure of 19 U.S. embassies and consulates in Africa and the Middle East through Saturday.
“The CIA and the National Security Agency had been secretly monitoring intelligence tips for weeks,” reports CNN’s Barbara Starr. (WATCH TOP VIDEO)
“There were indications of a possible terrorist attack in Yemen, a stronghold of one of Al Qaeda's deadliest affiliates. Alarm bells went off across Washington when a crucial message was intercepted involving communications in the last several days among senior Al Qaeda operatives.”
US intelligence analysts have since been scouring databases, telephone intercepts, and websites for clues while U.S. officials issued worldwide travel warning in addition to the embassy closures.
“U.S. officials have not told us there's a threat at home, but, of course, they’ve briefed local police departments,” says CNN's National Security Analyst Fran Townsend, also a member of the CIA External Advisory Board. (WATCH VIDEO)
“You may see a greater presence, because police and law enforcement will be on the lookout here at home just in case.”
According to the intel, the threat is emanating out of Yemen and al Qaeda has been branching out from there in the Arabian Peninsula.
“That explains why you close these embassies throughout the sphere of al Qaeda influence so that what you do is take targets away and you buy operational time to try and disrupt it or capture those who are most responsible,” Townsend explains.
“You gotta presume that we are being offensive, you just don't see it and they don't talk about it because they are trying to capture these people, disrupt the operation.”