Leaders of the nation's largest police organizations, briefed in the aftermath of the raid on Osama bin Laden's Pakistani compound, have been told that there are no immediate threats of reprisals or active terrorist plots that have been gleaned from an initial review of intelligence seized from the compound, police officials told USA TODAY.
The briefing came after federal officials advised local law enforcement officials to raise their guard against possible retaliation immediately following the killing of the al-Qaeda founder.
Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey, president of the Major City Chiefs Association, said the classified briefing late last week by the FBI yielded "no direct threats at all." Those briefed included representatives of the International Association of Chiefs of Police and the National Sheriffs Association.
The FBI's briefing and the alerts represent a substantial shift in the federal government's dealings with local law enforcement since 9/11, when some police officials feared they were being shutout of investigative developments in the weeks after the 2001 attacks.
"We recognized long ago that they (local police) are on the front lines in this (counterterrorism) effort, and it just makes sense to arm them with as much information as possible," FBI spokesman Paul Bresson said.
Separately, the FBI and Department of Homeland Security warned local police agencies late Monday as a precaution that retaliation could take the form of a lone attacker or "lone wolf," similar to the suspect in the 2009 shooting at Fort Hood inTexas, which left 13 people dead. Army Maj. Nidal Hasan is charged in the killings.
In New York City, Police Commissioner Ray Kelly is getting daily briefings, Deputy Commissioner Paul Browne said.
With the exception of a possible interest in attacking the U.S. train system, which officials made public last week, Browne said no new threat information specific to New York or other parts of the USA has surfaced from the intelligence seized at the Pakistan compound.
Nevertheless, Browne said additional police continue to patrol transit systems and other city landmarks.
Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis said extra officers will remain on patrol there, too, as analysts continue to review the data from documents, computer hard drives and cellphones.
"The content (of the seized material) is not as specific as I would have expected," Davis said. "Maybe they have not gotten to the meat of it (the information) yet."