Homeland security officials are concerned about the possibility of terrorist attacks during the holiday season, USA Today reports. Despite projections that more than 8 million people will fly over the next two weeks, officials don’t expect long lines at airport checkpoints.
Transportation Security Administration officials are requiring all airport security workers to work overtime between Dec. 22 and Jan. 4.
Homeland Security Department spokesman Brian Roehrkasse said the department has sent several advisories to security workers reminding them “of the need to maintain a heightened level of alert” during the holidays. On Dec. 11, the department advised the chemical and oil-and-gas trucking industries of “possible indicators of terrorist attack planning.” The memo cited five incidents in which fuel truck drivers reported “Middle Eastern men” conducting “surveillance.” The incidents in North Carolina, South Carolina, and New York took place from July to this month and involved what drivers called suspicious-looking men who watched, took pictures of, and followed fuel trucks. “The timing and location of the events along the East Coast suggest that these incidents may be related,” the memo said. “While it is not known if these incidents were efforts to illegally obtain refuelers cargo for black-market sales, or were pre-operational terrorist activities, they indicate an unexplained interest in commercial bulk refuelers.”
A Nov. 21 statement from the department said it “remains concerned about al-Qaeda’s continued interest in aviation, including using cargo jets to carry out attacks on critical infrastructure as well as targeting liquid natural gas, chemical and other hazardous material facilities.”