In the wake of Osama bin Laden’s death, security has been heightened around transportation systems in major metropolitans, including Washington, D.C.

Agencies have been warning the public of potential vengeful acts from bin Laden’s followers. Those fears were magnified since during the attack on the al-Qaeda leader’ hideout, Navy SEALs confiscated papers that revealed a list of possible future attacks against U.S. railroads that was compiled in February 2010, according to the State Department.

“We have no information of any imminent terrorist threat to the U.S. rail sector, but wanted to make our partners aware of the alleged plotting; it is unclear if any further planning has been conducted since February of last year,” Matt Chandler, the press secretary of Homeland Security, said in a statement.

Immediately following the takedown of bin Laden, more security was present around metro stations, synagogues and mosques. And Amtrak and subway riders faced minor screening compared to those who ride airplanes.

Emergency response in the District is handled by the National Capital Response Squad (NCRS), which includes members of the FBI, Metro Transit Police, Capitol Police, the Metropolitan Police Department and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, said James McJunkin, assistant director of the FBI’s Washington Field Office.

“We’re ready every day and we respond every day,” he said. “Although this was a significant event, no single event is going to change the protocols we have put into place that have proven effective in responding to emergency situations.” McJunkin added that the FBI has reached out to those in the intelligence community and law enforcement to make sure plans are synchronized and up to date.

Mayor Vincent Gray and Police Chief Cathy reiterated in a monthly online chat with The Washington Post that no “specific threats” against the District were received.

Still, because the city is significant worldwide, extra security is always needed, Chief Lanier said.

“Because we operate in undoubtedly the most important city in the world, the Metropolitan Police Department maintains a heightened state of alert,” Lanier said in an e-mail.

Lanier would not go into detail about how much security was added and said the following: “Clearly, it would not be prudent to talk about deployments and increased security tactics used by the Metropolitan Police Department. However, many of those tactics are very visible to the public and designed to be so.”

A travel alert was issued by the State Department, effective until Aug. 1, 2011, which warns U.S. citizens who decide to travel abroad or who reside abroad to be conscious of their surroundings as the capture of bin Laden and other members of his compound may fuel anti-American hostility.

“Given the uncertainty and volatility of the current situation, U.S. citizens in areas where recent events could cause anti-American violence are strongly urged to limit their travel outside of their homes…,” the Bureau of Consular Affairs said in a statement. “U.S. government facilities worldwide remain at a heightened state of alert. These facilities may temporarily close or periodically suspend public services to assess their security posture.”

No official terror alert has been issued.

Erica Butler

AFRO Staff Writer