DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – With just one day left before the presidential election, people across Texas are being warned to stay vigilant. Texas is one of three states, along with New York and Virginia, on high alert while U.S. intelligent agents assess a possible threat from al-Qaeda.
The states have been identified by federal officials as the potential targets of a possible terror attack ahead of the election. Law enforcement sources told CBS News about the possible threat last week. The information came from a tip that mentioned the three states.
No specific cities were named in the threat. A local counterterrorism expert explained that Texas might be included on the list because terrorists could use the southern border to cross into the country. In response to the threat, U.S. officials are vetting a list of suspects in the New York area and monitoring incoming international flights.
There are also concerns about cyber attacks trying to disrupt the election process as Americans head out to vote. Investigators are looking for people who might have any additional information.
Gov. Greg Abbott put out a statement on Friday, asking Texans to be alert and vigilant as they go about their daily lives, and to report any behavior that appears to be suspicious.
A security expert said that Texans who are licensed to carry concealed weapons could become lifesavers in the event of a terror attack. “In case something happens, and they use their weapons, they will stop an attack,” stated Chaim Koppel. “Many times, attacks happen in 10-20 seconds, and they’re running out of bullets and that’s it.”
But some local Islamic leaders said that FBI agents are targeting the Muslim community, asking unfair questions. Alia Salem with the Council on American Islamic Relations said that she has heard from some Muslims in North Texans about FBI agents knocking on doors.
Knowing that people are nervous, Salem posted a video online to address concerns, advising people to meet with an attorney before answering any questions from the FBI. “Our law enforcement is very important. The FBI serves an important purpose in our country,” Salem said in her online video. “But we have to do so observing our rights and helping to protect our families and our communities from any unwarranted aggression or profiling.”
Since posting the Saturday video, Salem said that she has heard from 17 people, including three people from other states, who were contacted by the FBI for unexplained reasons. “We have those rights as Americans, as a resident of this community, for a reason. They’re to protect ourselves so we don’t self-incriminate, so we don’t provide false information unwittingly. Knowing how to engage with law enforcement is something that’s being widely discussed in American dialogue right now.”