State authorities quiet on safety

Missouri Department of Public Safety officials refuse to talk about any possible changes due to recent terror threats

COLUMBIA, Mo. - Concerns of terrorists planning a major attack against the United States is causing U.S. embassies in nearly 24 locations to stay closed.

U.S. intelligence officials say they've heard terrorist talk about an attack that is "going to be big" and strategically significant. The embassies and consulates in the Middle East and North Africa, including Yemen, are thought to be the focus of the threats.

U.S. officials are preparing military units by putting them on high alert and that has ABC 17 News checking to see if any extra security is in place in Missouri.

Missouri Department of Transportation officials said they aren't doing anything different as of now. They say they haven't been contacted by the state's Department of Public Safety or Homeland Security. Public Safety officials refused comment to ABC 17 News.

U.S. officials say this round of threats is concerning in a whole new way. They're worried terrorists might be surgically implanting devices inside their bodies. Even though most of the threats are targeting locations overseas, officials are asking people to be on the lookout for anything out of the ordinary.

Public Safety officials said all information needs to come from the Homeland Security office in Washington D.C., but neighboring states said that isn't the case.

"One of the areas we really do intensify is our information sharing whenever there is a specific threat, that's making sure the channels of communication are open," Kansas Adjutant General's Department spokeswoman Sharon Watson said.

Kansas is just one of several states that said there is not a specific threat for their state, but they take any warning seriously. U.S. officials say it's unclear whether the terrorists are aiming for an embassy, air base, aircraft or trains, but there is a clear credible threat.

"Of course we don't know what that is, but that we all should be a little bit more careful, we should be more vigilant, more aware of things that are going around U.S.," Iowa Homeland Security and Emergency Management Department spokeswoman Lucinda Robertson said.

Officials couldn't give specifics about what changes are going on behind the scenes, but they say there are some.

"We routinely make changes to how we operate just so the enemy never knows exactly what we're doing," Watson said.

Officials in Illinois said they're asking people to be on the lookout for anything suspicious.

Last week, the State Department issued a global travel alert, cautioning Americans and students going out of the country.

University of Missouri officials said there are no students signed up to study abroad and there are currently no students in any of the Middle East countries.

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