WASHINGTON – Today’s news of a disrupted terror plot quickly translated to increased security measures at rail systems nationwide.
“There is no threat to mass transit, but it’s prudent to step up security given that mass transit has been a terrorist target in the past,” Washington Metro Transit Police Chief Polly Hanson said in a news release. “We also want to remind passengers that they are our eyes and ears to report any unattended packages, unusual behaviors and anything that seems suspicious.”
Metro’s transit police are doing random sweeps of stations, trains and buses. The transit agency also has closed all public restrooms in rail stations today.
Rail and bus employees also have stepped up inspections of buses, trains, stations, MetroAccess vehicles and other Metro facilities. Passengers also may see other law enforcement officers conducting inspections.
The Metropolitan Police’s anti-terrorist branch and security service in London have claimed today that a terrorist plot to detonate bombs on nine planes traveling mid-air from the United Kingdom to the United States has been thwarted.
The bombs were to be smuggled onboard in passengers’ hand luggage. They could have been the biggest terrorist attacks since 9/11, government officials have said. Information gathered after recent arrests in Pakistan convinced British investigators they had to act urgently to stop the plot.
U.S. intelligence officials said the plotters hoped to stage a dry run by August 10, The Associated Press reported. The actual attack would have followed days later, the officials told AP.
In the United States, Amtrak also stepped up its security.
“While there is no specific threat against Amtrak or other U.S. ground transportation, Amtrak has increased security measures in the wake of the recent arrests in Britain,” Amtrak said in a statement on its Web site.
“Additional police and K-9 teams have been deployed, and Amtrak is vigorously enforcing its existing policy of requiring all checked and carry-on baggage be tagged with the owner’s name and address. Also, additional on-board identification verifications are being conducted.”
– Todd DeFeo, with Wikinews and news releases