FBI agents and police on a terrorism task force raided residences in New York City before dawn Monday after a visit from a person believed to be linked to al-Qaida.
The raids came after an individual under surveillance for alleged links to al-Qaida came to New York City over the weekend and left the area, Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., said after receiving a briefing on the raids from federal law enforcement officials Monday.
No arrests were announced Monday but the investigation was still under way. Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., who was briefed by FBI Director Robert Mueller, said a terrorist attack was not believed to be imminent.
New York Police Department spokesman Paul Browne confirmed that searches were conducted in the borough of Queens by agents of a joint terrorism task force. He would not discuss the matter further.
Two U.S. intelligence officials, who requested anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the case publicly, said the target of any purported attack — or who would carry it out — remained unclear.
Authorities have not found any weapons ready for use — such as a bomb — that would indicate an attack was imminent, they said. Nevertheless, one of the officials called the threat very real and emphasized the urgency of the threat.
Another person briefed on the matter, who was not authorized to discuss the case and requested anonymity, said the raids were the result of previous law enforcement surveillance of individuals.
The investigation was continuing.
Schumer said he couldn’t discuss much of the case because many of the details were still classified.
“There was nothing imminent, and they are very good now at tracking potentially dangerous actions and this was preventive,” Schumer said. He added that the law enforcement action was unrelated to President Barack Obama’s visit Monday to New York.
Monday afternoon, a man answering his apartment door at a three-story brick apartment building in a predominantly Asian neighborhood of Queens confirmed that police had been at his apartment earlier Monday. He and a woman in the apartment wouldn’t comment further or identify themselves, closing their door to a reporter.
Nearby resident Kabir Islam, 24, said he saw FBI agents and police officers surrounding the apartment when he arrived home after 3 a.m. Monday.