Inauguration Terrorist Threat From East Africa, Debunked

ObamaWASHINGTON – A potential terror threat just before last week’s presidential inauguration turned out to be a ruse, a top military commander said Tuesday. However, Gen. Gene Renuart, chief of U.S. Northern Command, warned that ongoing security concerns still face the Obama administration during its early days. Renuart, the military commander in charge of domestic defense, said reports pointing to a possible threat from an East Africa terrorist group were the result of claims by another faction and turned out to be untrue.

“It was more a function of two factions who didn’t like each other setting the other up,” Renuart told the Associated Press. He did not identify the other faction.

Federal authorities early last week issued a warning describing a possible threat from individuals associated with al-Shabab, a Somali Islamic extremist group that has now seized the city that houses Somalia’s parliament. The group is on Washington’s list of terror organizations.

The warning noted that the information came from an individual overseas whose credibility was still in question, and officials said the advisory was sent out as a precaution.

Renuart said that although that threat was ultimately debunked, the overall security concerns — particularly from terror cells or people working to create them within the United States — has not diminished.

“If you look back in our history, every time we change an administration there has been some event seen to challenge the new administration,” he said. “So I wouldn’t let down our guard to say we are past the period of vulnerability.”

Authorities reported a rush of intelligence leads just before President Barack Obama was sworn in as the 44th president, but Renuart said officials did not see an accompanying uptick in reports that terror groups were planning operations or attacks.