An international terrorist attack around a major international date or holiday would likely fall into one of the three following scenarios.
1) Attacks abroad on significant U.S. holidays, such as July 4 – while U.S. Missions abroad have likely increased their security profile during major U.S. government holidays, host nation security forces are unlikely to elevate their security levels.
2) Attacks following a drawdown of security after a major date – foreign countries will often increase their security posture during a major event such as the Olympics or World Cup, effectively deterring major attacks during the event. However, following the conclusion of the event, security is often reduced. Terrorist groups may wait for security levels to decrease before launching an attack.
3) Lone wolf attacks by independently radicalized individuals on significant dates – while terrorists operating as part of an established cell or network may prefer to bide their time and wait for an opportune moment to strike, individual sympathizers with no formal training or connection to a terrorist group could be inspired to conduct an attack on a significant date despite heightened levels of security. Lone wolves are less likely to attract the attention of host nation counter-terrorism officials.
At this time, OSAC is aware of no specific or credible threats against the U.S. private sector on September 11. As highlighted throughout the report, al-Qa’ida and other terrorist groups are unlikely to conduct large-scale attacks on significant dates or holidays due to the heightened security levels. However, U.S. private sector organizations operating abroad in countries that have not raised their overall security levels may want to consider their vigilance and guard against complacency. OSAC continues to monitor trends and emerging issues that may have a significant security impact on U.S. private sector operations overseas.