Military leaders worry that the U.S. is more "vulnerable" to terrorist attacks during the presidential transition period - and even after Barack Obama takes office on January 20.
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen, says the danger is heightened by current world conditions, with the U.S. currently engaged in major conflicts in both Iraq and Afghanistan.
"With the election, the economic issues and what is going on in Pakistan and Afghanistan, all this converging at once, it makes a pretty enticing target for al Qaeda to consider disrupting U.S. national security interests in the short term," the Washington Post quoted John Rollins, a terrorism expert at the Congressional Research Service.
One senior official explained, "It is particularly important now because we're turning over in wartime.... The last time was in 1968, when we turned over from President Johnson to President Nixon."
"You'd like to think that certainly now military advice has got a lot more respect than it did in 1968 and 1969," he said, "but nonetheless the pressures of a wartime transition of authority are great, particularly in a democracy."
Historically, attacks on the U.S. have occurred just prior to and within the first year of a presidential inauguration.
But Mullen says the military is prepared to respond to any terrorist attack.
Mullen said that officials were working, "to make sure we are postured the right way around the world militarily, that our intelligence is focused on this issue, and in day-to-day operations the military is making sure it does not happen."
Sources: CBN News, The Washington Post