Citing unusually credible threats, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) today raised the terror alert level for the financial districts in Washington, DC; New York City; and Newark, New Jersey, to “high” or “orange.” The rest of the country remains at an “elevated” or “yellow” alert level.

According to DHS, intelligence indicated that Al Qaeda is planning car- or truck-bomb attacks on specific financial institutions in those three cities: the CitiCorp Building and New York Stock Exchange in New York, the Prudential Building in Newark, and the International Monetary Fund and World Bank buildings in Washington.

Because of the extraordinary specificity of the threats, DHS took the unprecedented step of raising the alert level only for particular sites in the affected cities.