WASHINGTON, Feb. 12 (UPI) -- When the FBI announced Monday that a 23-year-old Yemeni man may be plotting attacks for Tuesday against U.S. targets in Yemen and the United States, it did not tell the U.S. embassy in Sanaa about those threats, U.S. officials said.
"The FBI did not notify the embassy," one U.S. official told United Press International.
And on Tuesday morning, U.S. diplomats in Yemen arrived at work Tuesday as if nothing was happening -- or planned to happen. The source said State Department officials were expected to protest the neglect at a senior level this week with the FBI.
On Monday, the FBI released a statement that all U.S. law enforcement agencies were on the lookout for Fawaz Yahya Al-Rabeei, 23, a Yemini man born in Saudi Arabia, who the bureau said may be involved in a potential attack on either American assets in Yemen or in the United States. An additional 16 men in their 20s and early 30s from Yemen, Saudi Arabia and Tunisia were named as associates of Al-Rabeei's in the statement warning Americans to remain on heightened alert.
The warning was top of the news on radio and television and was the lead story in many Tuesday morning newspapers, both U.S. and foreign.
But U.S. sources told UPI that the FBI did not clear the new information through an interagency committee that normally handles the assessment and dissemination of credible terror threats on Americans. This group vets the material U.S. embassies and consulates use to post warning messages to Americans in the host country. This committee also provides the raw data used by the State Department to draft travel warnings.
On Jan. 14, the U.S. embassy temporarily closed some services due to perceived increased threats to Americans there. A public announcement on that date said: "The Department of State has received reports indicating a credible terrorist threat to U.S. interests in Yemen, including the U.S. Embassy. In response, the American Embassy in Sanaa has taken a number of measures to further increase its already heightened security posture."
But U.S. officials say the new information regarding Al-Rabeei was not made available to the embassy in Yemen.
Lynn Cassel, a spokeswoman for the State Department, said Tuesday the embassy takes the new threat seriously.
"Our embassy in Sanaa is taking all appropriate measures to deter and counter any possible terrorist attack," she said.
Last June, the FBI evacuated the U.S. embassy in Sanaa, citing credible threats to agents. U.S. Ambassador Barbara Bodine did not evacuate her employees.
At the time, State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said, "I stress the government of Yemen has taken extraordinary measures to ensure the safety of our personnel."