AP via NY Times:
In stark contrast to last year's holiday season, when the nation was under heightened alert, counterterrorism officials say there is precious little intelligence ``chatter'' being picked up about any new plot this year.There are too possible reasons for the lack of chatter. The first is that the enemy is doing a better job of "operational security," i.e. they are not discussing their plans as openly. The second possibility is that their organization has been so crippled that there are not as many people around to chat with. Since last year when there was a high alert the US and Pakistan broke up a cell that was primarily responsible for communicating with outsiders. This takedown also resulted in a takedown of a London cell planning attacks that were the subject of an alert raising the threat level last year. It is very possible that al Qaeda does not have the people and resources to terrorize that they have had in the past.
U.S. and foreign intelligence and law enforcement services report a continuing stream of vague, lower-level threats from al-Qaida and other Islamic extremist groups against American interests at home and abroad. But officials say nothing specific and credible has emerged in recent months that would require the government to raise the risk level above yellow, or ``elevated,'' the midpoint on the five-level threat scale.