Reporting Serene Branson
LOS ANGELES (CBS) — Millions of us will join big crowds this holiday weekend, enjoying fireworks and other festivities, but law enforcement agencies across Southern California are reviewing a new bulletin from the Department of Homeland Security regarding an alert for this holiday weekend.
The bulletin comes before the first significant holiday since Osama bin Laden’s death.
“With July Fourth being symbolic obviously the operation that neutralized him [bin Laden] is symbolic in some respects to the other side,” said Commander Blake Chow of the LAPD.
Documents found inside bin Laden’s show that as recently as February of last year, Al Qaeda was considering attacks in the U.S. on holidays, including Independence Day.
“So what we’re seeing out of the compound regarding July Fourth is not specific to a target in Los Angeles. It’s not a specific threat,” Chow said.
A joint FBI and Homeland Security bulletin released Wednesday shows that counter-terrorism officials across the U.S. are concerned that terrorists will target large symbolic gatherings in urban areas, like amusement parks and sporting events.
“We’ve really put our ear to the ground even closer. We’ve worked very closely with our partners in making sure that we’re sharing intelligence information that is coming out from different parts of the world about possible attacks, either related to holidays or related to the death of bin Laden,” Chow said.
Pasadena Police said they recognized the national profile that the Rose Bowl has. While they are hyper vigilant, they are not changing procedures from years past.
Chow said that local agencies, like LAPD, are in the loop with federal efforts more than ever and they are all monitoring Internet chatter closely.
Still, if you see something suspicious, authorities want to know.
“We really need the public’s help, because, quite honestly, the public and the people who live in the neighborhoods and the people who work in businesses or high-rises know what is normal and what is not normal,” Chow said.
For more information on how you can report suspicious activity, visit www.lapdonline.org/iwatchla.