NEW YORK (CBS/AP) — Iraq’s prime minister said Thursday that captive Islamic State militants told his intelligence agents of an alleged plot to attack subways in the United States and Paris.
FBI Director James Comey told reporters Thursday afternoon that he was unaware of any threat directed at U.S. subways.
U.S. law enforcement officials told CBS News they are investigating the threat, but as of overnight, there was still no intelligence on any credible specific plot against the U.S.
The MBTA Transit Police released a statement saying they are aware of the reports.
“We continue to be in close contact with the state police, the Boston police, the Boston office of the FBI and the Transportation Security Administration. There is no information that either the MBTA or Boston is a specific subject of this report,” the statement reads. MBTA officials went on to ask that customers and employees “remain vigilant and report any suspicious incidents to the MBTA Transit Police.”
Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi said he was told of the purported plot by officials in Baghdad, and that it was the work of foreign fighters who had joined the Islamic State group in Iraqi, including French and U.S. nationals.
Asked if the attacks were imminent, he said, “I’m not sure.” Asked if the attacks had been thwarted, he said, “No, it has not been disrupted yet… this is a network.”
“Today, while I’m here I’m receiving accurate reports from Baghdad that there were arrests of a few elements and there were networks from inside Iraq to have attacks … on metros of Paris and U.S.,” al-Abadi said, speaking in English. “They are not Iraqis. Some of them are French, some of them are Americans. But they are in Iraq.”
He made the remarks at a meeting with journalists on the sidelines of a gathering of world leaders at the United Nations General Assembly.
Al-Abadi declined to give the location in the U.S. where the said attack was being plotted.
“We’ve seen the reports of Prime Minister Abadi’s comments,” National Security Council spokesperson Caitlin Hayden told reporters in Washington Thursday.
“We have not confirmed such a plot, and would have to review any information from our Iraqi partners before making further determinations. We take any threat seriously and always work to corroborate information we receive from our partners.”
Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick said there is no intelligence that indicates that the threat level has risen in Massachusetts. “I think it is important that we to continue to be vigilant and that has been true for many years now,” Patrick said.
John Miller, the New York Police Department’s top counterterror official, said they were aware of the Iraqi official’s statements “and we are in close contact with the FBI and other federal partners as we assess this particular threat stream.”
New York is the home to the country’s largest subway system.
A half-dozen French officials contacted by The Associated Press said they knew of no plot.
WBZ-TV security analyst Ed Davis said it is not a time to panic. “What police agencies are doing today, and Homeland Security officials, they’re sitting down and they’re talking about raising their profile, being more visible in places where there are large numbers of people,” Davis said.
(TM and © Copyright 2014 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)
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