The group behind last year’s failed Christmas Day bombing and the recent attempt to send two explosives-laden packages to the United States may be looking to attack U.S. food supplies, Fox News has learned.
A source with knowledge of the situation said authorities obtained information “a while ago” indicating a possible plot by associates of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula to target food at hotels and restaurants inside the United States, perhaps slipping harmful agents into salad bars or buffets.
“We don’t have a specific target or time frame, just the intent,” the source said.
Nevertheless, the source said, authorities are not convinced that Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula – or AQAP – has the capability to actually carry out such an attack.
CBS News was the first to report the threat information, noting that the plot may involve the use of ricin or cyanide. However, the source with knowledge of the situation told Fox News that authorities assessed AQAP’s capability to use those bio-agents in such a manner as “low.”
Officials from the Department of Homeland Security, Department of Agriculture, and Food and Drug Administration have briefed a small group of corporate security officers within the hotel and restaurant industries about the potential threat, according to the CBS News report.