There is no evidence of any new, specific threat to Chicago's public transit system, a police department spokeswoman said Thursday when asked about an Associated Press report that quoted the Iraqi prime minister as saying his country's intelligence operation had uncovered a plot for an imminent attack.
The Associated Press reported Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said Thursday he was told of the alleged plot by Baghdad, and that it was the work of ISIS in Iraq. Asked if an attack was imminent, he said, "I'm not sure," according to the AP.
"We are always planning, preparing and taking all the necessary precautions to ensure the safety and security of Chicagoans," said Chicago police spokeswoman Melissa Stratton. "The City is constantly working with our federal law enforcement partners, including DHS, FBI and others. At this time, there are no known credible threats to Chicago."
Governors State University political science professor Khalil Marrar says that unregulated access to Chicago CTA trains could make the city's rail systems a vulnerable target.
"The very idea of rail is that you hop on and you hop off, but that also makes it a very easy target for folks and for ISIS," Marrar said.
"We need to engage in things like securing our rail system. In the same way that we have worked to secure our air system, we need to secure our railway system."
There is also no known, imminent threat to New York City's subway system, NBC New York reported Thursday, citing a senior security official.
Al-Abadi said authorities in the United States had been alerted about the threat, according to the AP, but security officials said that is not true.
"The first we heard of this threat is when the press began reporting it," the official said.
Authorities are looking into the source of his information and comparing it against past "open source" intelligence from about a month ago alleging a possible threat against the New York area's commuter rail system, but they stress they have found no new threat to local infrastructure.