Intel jittery as Al Qaeda's training camps empty out; Update: NYPD maintains alert

Two probably but not certainly unrelated stories for you here, starting with the dumber one first. The NYPD was on full alert for a dirty bomb last night thanks to a report of jihadi chatter from … Debkafile, whose credibility is so low that I actually had people snarking at me in the comments after I posted their item in headlines. The cops had no choice but to take it seriously, obviously, and in their defense some of the chatter was awfully specific:

Police confirmed the increased security was in response to receiving information that a dirty bomb may go off around 34th street in Manhattan Friday evening.

The Empire State Building, New York City’s tallest building, Madison Square Garden and Macy’s department store are in the 34th Street neighborhood.

The feds were “deeply skeptical” but the NYPD took nothing for granted: an alert was sent out for a 50-mile radius and patrols involved choppers, boats, and of course checkpoints. They were set to stand down by noon today if nothing panned out so presumably the alert is already over.

Now for the serious stuff. Must read from Roggio:

On the same day of the release of news on concerns over the security of Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal and the loyalty of the Pakistani military, the Asia Times’ Syed Saleem Shahzad reported al Qaeda and Taliban camps in North and South Waziristan have emptied, the Taliban and al Qaeda are expanding into the settled districts of the Northwest Frontier Province, and are reorganizing in both Afghanistan and Pakistan for a major fight.

The Fourth Rail interviewed a senior military intelligence official and a military officer, both of whom are familiar with the situation in the Northwest Frontier Province and wish to remain anonymous. The sources confirmed Mr. Shahzad’s information concerning the al Qaeda and Taliban camps in North Waziristan and the Taliban’s reorganization is accurate. Both sources are particularly concerned about the implications of the emptying of the camps…

The emptying of the camps is a cause for great concern in the military and intelligence communities. “We don’t know where they went to or who was in the camps,” the military officer told The Fourth Rail.. “They are well trained, these aren’t your entry level jihadis. They are dangerous.”

“This is one of the reasons that we are worried about a major CONUS [Continental United States] attack,” the senior military intelligence source told The Fourth Rail, noting the recent influx of news of terror cells attempting to penetrate the US. “If they evacuated their bases, they almost certainly did so out of fear of more than just the Pakistani army.”

Also at the link: Who’s got the launch codes for Pakistan’s nukes? No one’s quite sure. Click!

Update: The alert is still on through Saturday.

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John Sexton 10:40 PM on May 30, 2023