That's according to a law enforcement official, who said the warning - passed to the Joint Terrorism Task Force in New York - is based on information from an unidentified detainee who spoke with the FBI.
Security was increased around monuments and landmarks after the warning was relayed to New York officials Tuesday. New York City Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly characterized the information as "general threats."
New York's Brooklyn Bridge reopened to traffic Wednesday morning after being shut for about an hour as authorities investigated a suspicious package, a New York Police Department spokesman said. The bridge, which links Manhattan Island to the borough of Brooklyn over the East River and is a major New York City landmark, was closed at about 5 a.m. but reopened at around 6:05 a.m.
The FBI, in a statement, said it "has no information as to the time, date or method of attack, out of an abundance of caution, information has been transmitted to law enforcement in New York."
Police Commissioner Kelly said Tuesday that the NYPD is working with federal authorities and the department is prepared for "any eventuality." Kelly's comments came the day before Fleet Week 2002, an annual maritime celebration expected to draw 6,000 naval personnel.
Sailors, marines and Coast Guard personnel will be aboard 22 ships, including six warships. The public is invited aboard ships participating in the festival.
Kelly said he felt the department is "doing the best that we reasonably can do to prevent another incident and to respond if, God forbid, there is one."
New Yorkers seem to be taking the warning in stride.
"I think if you are going to live in New York, you're not going to let your life be dictated by crazy people," said Evelyn Krasnow, 31, outside a coffee shop in midtown Manhattan.
Security zones are in place, forbidding vessels from operating within 150 yards of the United Nations, Ellis Island or Liberty Island. Also, no vessels can operate within 25 yards of bridge piers, abutments, tunnel ventilators or waterfront facilities.
At the Brooklyn Bridge, police are checking vehicles at both the Brooklyn and Manhattan entrances of the bridge, which remains to cars and pedestrians. Around City Hall, there was also a heightened police presence.
On Tuesday, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said he didn't see any reason why people shouldn't enjoy Fleet Week and other activities over the weekend.
"The more people that are out the safer this city will be, and we are used to hosting big events. Fleet Week is just another one," he said. "There area always threats unfortunately, but fortunately, most are hoaxes."
Gov. George Pataki said the state has received all types of threats over the past eight months, but state and city officials have taken security steps. He said the threats were aimed at "dividing us and frightening us and taking away our freedom by fear."
The New York warning came as top Bush administration officials continued a chorus of warnings about potential attacks in the United States.
Secretary of State Colin Powell said terrorists are trying every way they can to get their hands on weapons of mass destruction — "whether radiological, chemical, biological or nuclear." Briefing reporters, Powell said the anti-terrorism campaign must be waged on many fronts.
Homeland Security Chief Tom Ridge said Tuesday that, while U.S. officials have no specific credible evidence of a threat of suicide bombings in the United States, Americans would be "somewhat naive" if they felt immune.
Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld weighed in, telling a Senate subcommittee that terrorist groups will eventually get nuclear, chemical and biological weapons: "They (terrorists) inevitably will get their hands on them and they will not hesitate to use them."
Rumsfeld declined to discuss specific terrorist threats, saying the government sees hundreds a day. As many as 90 percent of them are designed simply to test the government's response.
On Capitol Hill, the media was kept far away from a closed-door Senate Judiciary Committee meeting with FBI Director Robert Mueller and Phoenix agent Kenneth Williams, who wrote the July 2001 memo concerning Arabs training at flight schools.
In a shift from its previous refusals to give Congress certain information, the administration planned to hand over portions of the memo. Attorney General John Ashcroft learned of the general topic of the Phoenix memo in the days after the Sept. 11 attacks but was not briefed extensively on the memo until several weeks ago, a Justice Department official said.
The House and Senate intelligence committees investigating the matter have been able to see the Phoenix memo for several weeks, but have not had copies provided to them, the official said. The attorney general has promised to cooperate with investigators.
A CBS News Poll shows that most Americans, by a margin of 62 percent to 36 percent, don't think Congress should hold hearings to investigate what the White House knew about possible terrorist attacks. But, by a margin of 45 percent to 32 percent, Americans think the questions Democrats are asking the White House about what it knew are appropriate ones.
On Tuesday, the State Department sent its annual report on terrorism to Congress. The report listed the same seven countries — Iran, Sudan, Libya, Iraq, North Korea, Cuba and Syria — as state sponsors of terrorism last year.
Iran remains the world's most active sponsor of terrorism, while Sudan and Libya took some steps — but not enough — to "get out of the business," the State Department said Tuesday.
The report said Iraq provided training and political encouragement to many terror groups, but its main focus was on dissident Iraqis opposed to President Saddam Hussein.
Overall, terrorist attacks claimed a record number of lives - 3,547 - in 2001, about 90 percent of them in the Sept. 11 attacks in New York, Washington, and Pennsylvania, the State Department said.
While the number of people who died in terror attacks went up, the number of international terror attacks declined to 346, down from 426 in 2000. A little more than half of the attacks, 178, were bombings against an international oil pipeline in Colombia.
The report called the Sept. 11 attacks on the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and an airline that crashed in Pennsylvania, "the worst international terrorist attack ever" — with the four coordinated suicide attacks by Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda network killing more than 3,000 people from more than 78 countries.
It was the "bloodiest day on American soil since the Civil War," said Francis X. Taylor, who directs the department's office to counter terrorism, and the most devastating international terrorist attack in world history.