By BRIAN ROSS, RHONDA SCHWARTZ, RICHARD ESPOSITO, PIERRE THOMAS, JASON RYAN and MATTHEW COLE
US authorities are scrambling to sort through information that the CIA developed in the past 24 hours indicating that at least three individuals entered the US in August by air with the intent to launch a vehicle-borne attack against Washington, DC, or New York around the anniversary of 9/11, according to intelligence officials.
Officials say the alleged terror plot was initiated by new al Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri, Osama bin Laden's successor.
Intelligence and law enforcement officials told ABC News that at least one of the individuals is a US citizen and one official said that two of the individuals may have had US documentation -- whether green cards or passports was unclear.
As news of the information became public, authorities began weighing whether to raise the national threat level.
Although authorities said they had not yet identified the suspects, the operatives are believed to have embarked on their journey to the U.S. from the tribal areas of Pakistan, according to two senior officials. One official said the route may have taken them through Dubai.
The information on the plot was "very specific " said one official, adding " It seems like the information has been worked for a while." A second and third official confirmed the specifics of the possible plot added that a declassified bulletin is expected to be issued shortly.
Multiple sources say that federal authorities will send a bulletin to law enforcement tonight. The threat, one official told ABC News, is credible. Now authorities are making every effort to confirm it and to hunt down any plotters.
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