Officials are close-mouthed about the specifics of an intercepted message between top Al Qaeda commanders that led to a worldwide travel ban and closure of 23 U.S. embassies.
International journalists who know the score insist they are sworn to secrecy, but all agree it's a twin-pronged threat connecting both Al Qaeda and the Taliban through a familiar source of trouble, Yemen.
At the base of the concerns is a prison break spearheaded by the Taliban at Dera Ismail Khan in northwest Pakistan in which 250 prisoners scrambled to freedom following a sophisticated attack consisting of three parts.
First, attackers cut the electricity to the prison. Second, they detonated bombs planted around the facility's perimeter wall to create breaches. When security forces responded, they had attack teams ready to ambush them.
It's a repeat performance of another prison break that took place one year ago at the central jail in Bannu, when 400 prisoners made their escape.
The formation of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula came in a jailbreak in 2006 when plotters dug a 400-yard tunnel from the prison at Yemen's capital city Saana to an adjacent mosque.
The present emergency is caused by what the U.S. Department of State described as “an abundance of caution” by officials for their employees and for Americans throughout the world.
The intercepted threat involved something beyond the ordinary invective about “the great Satan” and the “people of the book.”
This one is specific, and it involves targeting an embassy on a Sunday – which Sunday, is not known.