Threats posted on a Web page earlier this week about using radioactive “dirty bombs” to attack seven National Football League stadiums during this weekend’s games were a hoax, the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security said yesterday.
“The FBI and DHS have evaluated the recent Internet-based [weapons of mass destruction] threat to NFL stadiums,” said FBI spokesman Richard Kolko in Washington. “The investigation has determined that this is a hoax. The public should be reassured of their security as they continue to attend sporting events this weekend.”
The announcement followed an interview by the FBI of a 20-year-old Wisconsin man who was linked by agents in Milwaukee to the Internet threats, which said dirty bomb attacks would occur during pro football games this Sunday — marking the final day in Mecca of Ramadan, the Islamic holy month.
The Oct. 12 online posting said that trucks would deliver radiological bombs to the stadiums and that al Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden would later take responsibility. It was included as part of an ongoing conversation titled “New Attack on America Be Afraid.”
It said, in part, “The death toll will approach 100,000 from the initial blasts and countless other fatalities will later occur as result from radioactive fallout.”
Authorities said the comment was posted at 9:31 p.m. by someone who identified himself online as “javness.” The posting appeared on a Web site known as the Friend Society, which links to several online forums and off-color cartoons. The site’s provider has been identified as Voxel Dot Net Inc. in Troy, N.Y., which denied knowing about the posting.
The FBI did not say whether authorities would charge the Wisconsin man.
FBI agent Linda Krieg told reporters in Milwaukee that “javness” was “not in a position to actually carry through on” the threat.
Homeland Security authorities alerted NFL officials in New York, Miami, Atlanta, Seattle, Houston, Oakland and Cleveland on Wednesday about the threats, saying they were acting “out of an abundance of caution.” Homeland Security spokesman Russ Knocke said at the time that the threats were being viewed “with strong skepticism.”
A dirty bomb has been described as a device that uses conventional explosives to scatter radioactive material.
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