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Counterterrorism and law enforcement officials told Fox News Tuesday that they are extremely concerned that terrorist groups like Al Qaeda (search) may be planning an attack during one of the major events scheduled for this summer.
The comments came after a think tank study revealed that despite the elimination of several key figures, Al Qaeda still has a functioning leadership, over 18,000 potential terrorists in its global network and a swelling membership thanks to the war in Iraq. "There is significant concern," one counterterrorism official told Fox News.
The intelligence was described Tuesday by another senior counterterrorism official on condition of anonymity as extremely credible and backed by an unusually high level of corroboration.
U.S. officials have obtained new intelligence deemed highly credible indicating al-Qaida or other terrorists are in the United States and preparing to launch a major attack this summer, The Associated Press has learned.
The intelligence does not include a time, place or method of attack but is among the most disturbing received by the government since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, according to a senior federal counterterrorism official who spoke to The AP on condition of anonymity Tuesday.
Of most concern, the official said, is that terrorists may possess and use a chemical, biological or radiological weapon that could cause much more damage and casualties than a conventional bomb.
"There is clearly a steady drumbeat of information that they are going to attack and hit us hard," said the official, who described the intelligence as highly credible.