Date: February 12, 2003
Abstract: Al Qaeda is looking at colleges and other poorly defended locations as possible targets for terrorist attacks, the director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation told a U.S. Senate committee on Tuesday.
While Al Qaeda recognizes the value of massive attacks that kill thousands of people to shock its adversaries and recruit potential members, it also values smaller operations with greater chances of success, Robert S. Mueller III, the FBI chief, told the committee. The recent attacks in Bali and Kuwait that killed dozens or hundreds of people, he said, "could readily be reproduced in the U.S."
"Multiple small-scale attacks against soft targets," including colleges and universities, Mr. Mueller said, "would be easier to execute and would minimize the need to communicate with the central leadership, lowering the risks of detection."
Mr. Mueller shared the floor with George J. Tenet, director of the Central Intelligence Agency, in a session before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.
Mr. Mueller's comments mark the "first time a senior official has noted the likelihood that an institution of higher education would be a target," said Sheldon E. Steinbach, vice president and general counsel for the American Council on Education.
Colleges do offer tempting targets for would-be terrorists, Mr. Steinbach said -- besides sponsoring large sporting events, they house ingredients for biological and chemical weapons, and a few even have nuclear reactors.
Since September 11, though, colleges have candidly talked about their potential vulnerabilities to terrorist attacks, Mr. Steinbach said. "Almost all institutions have taken reasonable precautions to heighten security at sensitive facilities and events."
The FBI chief's
statement, he continued, will intensify colleges' efforts to ensure that their
campuses are safe (UCLA, 2003).
Title: EXCLUSIVE: FBI Warns Of Possible Terror Threat At Sporting Events
Date: March 10, 2006
Source: ABC News
Abstract: With college basketball championships under way around the country, the FBI has warned stadium operators of a possible suicide bomb attack at sporting events.
In a directive issued today, obtained by ABC News, the FBI said a posting on an extremist message board "advocated suicide attacks against sporting events as a cost-effective means of killing thousands of Americans."
The FBI and the Department of Homeland Security said they cannot confirm the credibility of the threat or whether the message is affiliated with al Qaeda.
The FBI said the Internet posting said the suicide attacks would be justified because the United States refused a truce offered by Osama bin Laden in his last videotaped statement, Jan. 19, 2006.
According to the FBI bulletin, the author of the posting recommended using "three to five blond or black American Muslim suicide bombers." The FBI said the author suggested that homemade explosives be hidden under their winter clothing.
The posting recommended, according to the FBI, that one suicide bomber detonate inside the stadium and the others detonate at exit gates as spectators were fleeing.
"The combined explosions would create a panic that would kill far more spectators than the bombing alone," the FBI quotes the message as saying.
The FBI said it is unaware of any specific or credible plans to attack any sporting event but notes that terrorist groups have mounted attacks at sporting events in the past.
The FBI recommends that sports leagues and stadium operators review and coordinate security practices and emergency response procedures "to address this potential threat" (ABC News, 2006).
Title: FBI Warns Of Possible NCAA Tourney Terror Threat
Date: March 13, 2006
Source: Fox News
Abstract: The FBI said Friday there is no specific, credible threat of a terror attack aimed at college basketball arenas or other sports stadiums, but acknowledged alerting law enforcement to a recent Internet posting discussing such attacks.The FBI and Homeland Security Department distributed an intelligence bulletin Friday to state and local law enforcement nationwide describing the online threat against sporting venues, said Special Agent Richard Kolko, an FBI spokesman in Washington.
"We have absolutely no credible intelligence or threats pertaining to this issue," Kolko said.
With conference tournaments taking place this weekend, and the NCAA tournament scheduled to begin next week, the bulletin was sent "out of an abundance of caution," Kolko said.
"We have been in touch with Homeland Security and the FBI about this issue," said NCAA spokesman Erik Christiansen.
"We do not believe there is an imminent threat," he said. "We are in constant communication with the local, state and federal law enforcement agencies, including Homeland Security and the FBI. This is not new; we are in regular contact with all these law enforcement agencies at every level."
The online message described a potential attack in some detail, calling it an efficient way to kill thousands of people using homicide bombers armed with explosives hidden beneath their winter clothing, said a federal law enforcement official who read the bulletin.
But the government document also said U.S. intelligence sources could not corroborate the information or say whether the site was linked to Al Qaeda.
Christiansen said, "There was no mention of a specific event or organization."
In the past, intelligence assessments have been sent in advance of major holidays and sporting events because they pose an inviting target for terrorists (Fox News, 2006).Title: Providence Security Heightened For NCAA Tournament
Date: March 17, 2010
Title: Houston NCAA Terror Target
Date: March 24, 2011