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FBI Questions Someone in NFL Threat

Associated Press | October 19, 2006
By LARA JAKES JORDAN

The FBI interviewed a Milwaukee resident Thursday who officials believe was involved in posting Internet threats about dirty bomb attacks on NFL football stadiums this weekend. The threats appeared to be phony.

The person, described only as a young adult, did not appear to have any ties to terrorist groups, according to a Washington law enforcement official who spoke on condition of anonymity because the investigation was ongoing.

In Milwaukee, FBI spokesman Richard K. Ruminski said the "individual has come forward and provided information about the posting of the threat against the NFL stadiums. The U.S. government still believes this threat is non-credible."

"As this is an ongoing matter, we will not provide any additional information at this time," Ruminski said in a statement.

The threats about radioactive bombs, posted on a Web site a week ago, were not backed up by intelligence indicating such an attack might be imminent, according to the FBI and the Homeland Security Department.

Homeland Security on Wednesday alerted the NFL and authorities in New York, Miami, Atlanta, Seattle, Houston, Oakland and Cleveland, saying they were acting "out of an abundance of caution."

Homeland Security spokesman Russ Knocke on Wednesday said the threat was viewed "with strong skepticism." Still, the agency contacted the National Football League, local authorities and stadium owners. Also notified was the National Collegiate Athletic Association.

The online posting, dated Oct. 12, was part of an ongoing conversation titled "New Attack on America Be Afraid." It appeared on a Web site, "The Friend Society," that links to various online forums and off- color cartoons. The site's Internet provider declined to comment.

The message said trucks would deliver radiological bombs to stadiums in New York, Miami, Atlanta, Seattle, Houston, Oakland and Cleveland _ and that al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden would claim responsibility.

A dirty bomb would use conventional explosives to scatter radioactive material. Such a blast probably would not cause many deaths, experts say, but the fear of contamination could spark panic. Land and buildings hit with radioactive particles might be unusable for years.

Authorities traced the site's Internet provider to Voxel Dot Net Inc., which has support and engineering staff based in Troy, N.Y. A man who answered the phone at Voxel Wednesday declined to give his name, said he was unaware of the posted threat and refused further comment.

The author of the threats, posted at 9:31 p.m. EDT on Oct. 12, identified himself online as "javness."

NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said stadiums are well-protected through "comprehensive security procedures" that include bag searches and pat- downs.

Officials were made aware of the Web posting on Monday. The threat was time for Sunday, marking the final day in Mecca of Ramadan, the Islamic holy month.

A copy of the posting said: "The death toll will approach 100,000 from the initial blasts and countless other fatalities will later occur as result from radioactive fallout."

It said al-Qaida automatically would receive blame for the nearly simultaneous attacks, and predicted, "Later, through Al-Jazeera, Osama bin Laden will issue a video message claiming responsibility for what he dubbed 'America's Hiroshima.'"

The posting noted that all of the stadiums cited, with the exception of Atlanta's, are open-air arenas. "Due to the open air, the radiological fallout will destroy those not killed in the initial explosion." The retractable roof in Houston has been closed for all games this season.

In Indianapolis, where the Colts were preparing for a home game this weekend, head coach Tony Dungy said, "I've been waiting for this to happen for a couple of years now and you try and handle the security and put it out of your mind."

 

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