Washington In a stark warning, the FBI said Thursday it has received information there may be additional terrorist attacks inside the United States or abroad in the next several days.
The bureau said its information does not identify specific targets, but it has asked local police to be on the highest alert and for all Americans to be wary of suspicious activity.
"Certain information, while not specific as to target, gives the government the reason to believe that there may be additional terrorist attacks within the United States and against U.S. interests overseas over the next several days," the FBI said in its warning.
"The FBI has again alerted all local law enforcement to be on the highest alert and we call on all people to immediately notify the FBI and local law enforcement of any unusual or suspicious activity," it said.
President Bush said he had personally reviewed the intelligence that prompted the FBI alert. The intelligence represented "a general threat on America," he said at a news conference Thursday night.
In a taped interview for ABC's "Nightline," Attorney General John Ashcroft said, "I think the next several days are obviously important partially because of the environment in which we find ourselves in the initial response period" in Afghanistan."
Justice Department spokeswoman Mindy Tucker said the department had received new intelligence within the past few days about a potential attack and decided to alert the public as well as law enforcement agencies.
"We realize the importance of the public accurately understanding the kinds of alerts we are sending out to law enforcement," said Tucker.
She said since Sept. 11 the FBI has sent law enforcement agencies five or six alerts. One that urged extra security and vigilance over crop-dusting operations was eventually made public.
Ashcroft has also warned Americans about possible attacks in retaliation for the U.S.-led bombing campaign in Afghanistan.
"We asked everyone to be on the highest alert and we're asking everyone to do that again," said Tucker. She added, in words similar to Ashcroft's this week, "Americans should go on with their lives, there's no reason people should live in panic."
It was the FBI's second request this week that law enforcement move to its highest state of alert. The first was on Sunday.
Thursday's statement was the first to suggest attacks might occur within several days.
Ashcroft and FBI Director Robert Mueller have said they intend to alert Americans to any credible threats about future terrorist plans.
In recent days, the FBI has asked supervisors of water supplies, nuclear and electric power plant operators, owners of crop dusters and drivers of hazardous waste trucks among others to increase security to ward off attacks.
"We are working to do everything possible and we would enlist the help of citizens in that," Ashcroft said earlier Thursday, before the FBI warning was issued.