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Published: Thursday, 10/19/2006

Football stadium terror threat is a hoax, FBI says


MILWAUKEE Internet threats of dirty bomb attacks at Cleveland Browns Stadium and NFL stadiums in six other cities this weekend were a hoax, the FBI and Department of Homeland Security said today.

The FBI made the announcement after agents questioned a 20-year-old Milwaukee man in an effort to determine who made the threats, which were posted on a Web site last week.

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, said the agencies joint statement.

The FBI did not immediately say whether charges will be filed against the man they questioned. Milwaukee police contacted the FBI about the man Wednesday night.

From the information we have, we believe he was involved to some extent, but we don t know at what level, said FBI agent Douglas E. Porrini. He added: That person was released, but we re not saying that he won t be charged.

The threat, dated Oct. 12, appeared on a Web site, The Friend Society, that links to various online forums and off-color cartoons. Its author, identified in the message as javness, said trucks would deliver radiological bombs Sunday to stadiums in New York, Miami, Atlanta, Seattle, Houston, Cleveland and Oakland, Calif., and that Osama bin Laden would claim responsibility.

The Homeland Security Department alerted authorities Wednesday in the cities mentioned, as well as the NFL and the National Collegiate Athletic Association. But the FBI and Homeland Security said there was no intelligence indicating such an attack might be imminent.

I don t think it was put out there to be real, said FBI agent Linda Krieg in Milwaukee. Whoever put it out there is not in a position to actually carry through on it. It was not a credible threat.

The man questioned did not appear to have any ties to terrorist groups, according to an FBI official in Washington who spoke on condition of anonymity because the investigation was still going on.

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

Read more in later editions of The Blade and toledoblade.com

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