The US government says the intelligence doesn’t support the website’s assertion, but I can’t help thinking about al Qaeda’s warning of a nuke going off in the US during Ramadan, which isn’t over until October 23 – Monday – and the threat is for Sunday.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Department of Homeland Security warned officials on Wednesday in seven U.S. cities about a dirty-bomb threat to National Football League stadiums but does not believe the threat is credible, officials said.
The threat, posted on Monday on an Internet site, said bombs containing radioactive material known as “dirty” bombs had been smuggled into the United States and would be used to attack professional football stadiums this Sunday, the department said.
“We are looking at this with strong skepticism. We have judged that there is not a credible threat here. There is no evidence or intelligence that there is a credible threat of such attacks,” said Homeland Security spokesman Jarrod Agen.
“But out of an abundance of caution, we thought it necessary to notify federal, state, local and private sector partners,” he added.
The seven cities were identified as Miami, New York, Atlanta, Seattle, Houston, Oakland, California, and Cleveland in a Homeland Security notice sent to federal, state, local and private security officials in those areas.
“They have not been asked to take any security measures,” Agen said. “This is to inform them that the information is out there but we don’t see it as a credible threat.”
The Homeland Security notice said the threat was posted to an English-language Web site at www.thefriendsociety.com and said dirty bombs in trucks would be detonated outside the stadiums during Sunday’s NFL games.
The National Football League issued a statement saying its stadiums were “very well protected” by measures that include perimeter security, bag searches and personal searches of people entering the facilities.
Jay at Stop the ACLU writes that the stadiums’ ability to protect their patrons is being undermined because of the efforts by the ACLU:
Thanks to a lawsuit from the ACLU, Tampa’s Raymond James Stadium was forced to stop all their searches. The ACLU also filed suit against the 49′rs to halt their searches as well. I’m not sure if that case is settled or not. Surprising that they are not on the list being how easy the ACLU made it for them in Tampa. Hopefully the FBI’s scepticism is right and there is nothing to worry about. Still, threats like this highlight why security proceedures at these kind of events are so important, and why groups like the ACLU fighting against them is so dangerous.
Update: Dr. Rusty Shackleford at The Jawa Report has the original text of the threat:
On Sunday, October 22nd, 2006, there will be seven “dirty” explosive devices detonated in seven different U.S. cities; Miami, New York City, Atlanta, Seattle, Houston, Oakland and Cleveland. The death toll will approach 100,000 from the initial blasts and countless other fatalities will later occur as result from radioactive fallout.
The bombs themselves will be delivered via trucks. These trucks will pull up to stadiums hosting NFL games in each respective city. All stadiums to be targeted are open air arenas, excluding Atlanta’s Georgia Dome, the only enclosed stadium to be hit. Due to the open air, the radiological fallout will destroy those not killed in the initial explosion. The explosions will be near simultaneous, with the cities specifically chosen in different time zones to allow for multiple attacks at the same time.
The 22nd of October will mark the final day of Ramadan as it would fall in Mecca. Al-Qaida will automatically be blamed for the attacks. Later, through Al-Jazeera, Osama bin Laden will issue a video message claiming responsibility for what he dubs “America’s Hiroshima”.
In the aftermath civil wars will erupt across the world, both in the Middle East and within the United States. Global economies will screech to a halt. General chaos will rule.
If this is false threat, the person(s) who posted it were aware of Adnan G. El Shukrijumah and the Ramadan dirty bomb threat issued by al Qaeda.
Dr. Shackleford’s view:
So, am I still dismissive of the various dirty bomb and nuclear threats? I think I’ve moved from dismissive to skeptical, and now to still skeptical with a hint of worry. Not necessarily by the NFL threat, but by the confluence of all the threats at once. Howie agrees that the dirty bomb threat is not too credible. After all, those making the NFL threats could have been inspired by those earlier threats–which may have had no basis in reality whatsoever. And if we have found the original threat, it seems much more fantasy than anything else. The poster ‘javness’ describes himself as….well, you really don’t want to know, but think the bad gay in a very jeuvenile way.
But, again, I was a Boy Scout and our motto was “be prepared”.
Update II: Hot Air has a screenshot of the site that issued the threat.
Update III: More from Rusty Shackleford on the threat.
EMBEDDED UPDATE: The Feds are saying it came on an English language website. The now defunct site where this was found? “The F*cked Society”.
Also, it is in the middle of a “truther” thread which explains why the poster alludes to al Qaeda “claiming” they were behind the bombing. But we really know who did it, wink wink.
Change me back from the ‘skeptical but worried’ column to the ‘dismissive and pissed that this was national news’ column.
Actually, I’m relieved it was a hoax. There are some pretty sick, twisted people who get off on this kind of stuff. What’s also frightening is that at some point we might become desensitized to the hoaxes and then not believe a real threat.