A top NYPD intelligence official said Wednesday that Al-Qaeda terrorists are encouraging sympathizers in the United States to bomb the U.S. Tennis Open in Flushing-Meadow this summer.
Rebecca Weiner, the police department's Director of Intelligence Analysis, stressed that there was no information that such a plot was actually underway.
Weiner based her remarks on an article in the latest issue of Inspire, the online English magazine of Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula that called for bombings by its supporters in the United States, Great Britain and France.
During a meeting at police headquarters, Weiner said that "among those suggested targets is the U.S. Open which is coming up in a couple of weeks."
Weiner spoke to law enforcement officials, corporate executives, and news media at the meeting, which the NYPD conducts occasionally to give the latest developments in the war on terrorism.
"I want to make very clear," Weiner told the group, "we have had no threat reporting related to the U.S. Open. We will insure that the suggestions in this magazine remain hypothetical. Nonetheless, we would be remiss not to take note of it."
The Al-Qaeda article claims that supposedly easily built bombs, may not destroy buildings, but can inflict massive casualties if detonated in locations where many people will be likely to gather.
The article, aimed at relatively technically unsophisticated people, says learning how to make a homemade explosive "allows Muslims to train at home instead of risking a dangerous travel abroad."
In reference to tennis stadiums, the article says they should be targeted because "they are visited by thousands of people, and by prominent people, especially the U.S. Open."
Edward Davis, the police commissioner of Boston, spoke at the meeting Wednesday on how law enforcement dealt with the April, 2013 bombing of the Boston Marathon.
The U.S. Open that followed the Boston bombing in August of 2013 saw a marked increase in security, resulting in lengthy delays at times for spectators getting into the stadium.
Chris Widmaier, a spokesman for the United States Tennis Association, which runs the U.S. Open, said that the organization is aware of the al-Qaida article. He said the association is continually updating its security and is in regular contact with the NYPD, the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security.