Archive for the ‘Other Terrorist Events’ Category

Boston Marathon Bombing: Fire at JFK Library

In Other Terrorist Events on April 16, 2013 at 8:28 am

UPDATE:  Boston Fire Department find no link between Boston Marathon Bombing and fire at JFK library:

No link between library fire and Boston Marathon blasts
By Julia Talanova, CNN
updated 10:50 PM EDT, Thu April 18, 2013

(CNN) — A fire at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum was not connected to two blasts at the Boston Marathon, the city’s fire department confirmed Thursday.
“There was a lot of speculation it was related, but when all was said and done it turned out to be a careless disposal of smoking material,” said Steve MacDonald, a Boston Fire Department spokesman.  Six minutes after the explosions near the marathon finish line on Monday, firefighters responded to the blaze at the library in Dorchester, Massachusetts.  The library, a well known landmark, is about five miles southeast of the marathon’s finish line, and speculation immediately surged that there was a connection.
Boston’s police commissioner initially told reporters there had been an explosion at the library, but police later said the incident there was fire-related.
The library fire occurred in an outside area where employees take breaks, the fire department said.

In the Boston Herald:

Cops probe fire at JFK Library

Monday, April 15, 2013 — Anonymous (not verified)
Unclear if blaze related to blasts
Local Coverage
Tuesday, April 16, 2013
Erin Smith
Dave Wedge
Joe Dwinell
A fire broke out at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum yesterday afternoon just minutes after two explosions at the Boston Marathon finish line, sending black smoke pouring from the historic building and dozens of police and federal agents scrambling to find out whether the fire was connected to the Copley Square attacks.

“The preliminary investigation indicates that the incident at the JFK may not have been an explosion. It may have been a fire,” said Boston Police Commissioner Edward F. Davis in an announcement.

Earlier in the day, Davis said investigators did not know if the two incidents were linked, but were treating them as if they were.

The cause of the fire was still under investigation last night, but police said the damage at the library may have been caused by a fire or “an incendiary” device.

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Boston Marathon Bombing: Cell Phone Service Was Not “Shut Down”

In Other Terrorist Events on April 16, 2013 at 8:14 am

After the Boston Marathon bombing, there were news reports that cell phones were “shut down.”  A typical sentence:

Cell phone service was shut down in the area, the AP reported, to prevent any remote detonations.

But multiple cell phone companies say that while traffic was high, service was not interrupted, especially not by U.S. government request:

Wireless carriers say reports that authorities had shut down cellphone service in the Boston area are untrue.

“Verizon Wireless has not been asked by any government agency to turn down its wireless service,” Verizon spokesman Thomas Pica told me via email. “Any reports to that effect are inaccurate.”

The AP, which initially reported that the networks had been shut down, has walked back that claim in an updated report. “Minus some mild call blocking on our Boston network due to increased traffic, our service is operating normally,” Sprint spokeswoman Crystal Davis told the AP.

The New York Post still carries the “story,” but only in a headline (there is no text):

Cell phone service shut down in Boston to prevent remote detonations: report
Last Updated: 5:03 PM, April 15, 2013
Posted: 5:02 PM, April 15, 2013

Some Boston websites are not operating, and the LATimes has this confusing information, mixing the story that cell phones were shut down, yet Verizon and Sprint say they were not:

Following at least two explosions during the Boston Marathon, many websites in the area have gone offline and the Associated Press is reporting that the city is shutting down cellphone service to prevent use of the device to trigger a bomb.

Verizon said it has not been asked by government officials to shut off cellphone service. Meanwhile, Sprint said it did not turn off its cell phone service either, but it recommends people use text messages instead of phone calls as they have more of a chance of getting through.]

According to reports, two explosions went off at the finish line for the Boston Marathon, injuring dozens of people and killing at least two. That’s causing many to check websites for the city, resulting in Internet traffic jams that are bringing down the sites.

At the time of this writing, the Boston Globe’s website was down, which has forced the newspaper to turn to its Twitter account to report news to readers. Boston.com is also having issues, as is CityOfBoston.gov. Some on Twitter said earlier the Boston Herald’s website was down, but it appears to be up though it is running noticeably slower. That’s also the case for the website of the Boston Athletic Assn., which organized the Boston Marathon.

The Red Cross’ SafeAndWell.org website, which is used during disasters and emergency situations to help connect people, is also having a hard time loading. Anne Marie Borrego, a spokeswoman for the Red Cross, said the website is having a hard time working right now but said users should keep trying it.

“When you have a site that’s inundated, it’s just going to take some time,” she said. “Just keep checking back.”

The Hill reports that the FCC is not aware of a shut down:

The Associated Press initially reported that Boston police shut down cellphone service to prevent a remote detonation, but a police department spokesman denied the report.

A Federal Communications Commission official said the agency isn’t aware of any shut downs.

Bomb during Boston Marathon: Foreign or Domestic?

In Other Terrorist Events on April 16, 2013 at 7:39 am

Boston Marathon Blasts Kill 3


BOSTON — Two powerful bombs exploded near the finish line of the Boston Marathon on Monday afternoon, killing three people, including an 8-year-old child, and injuring more than 100, as one of this city’s most cherished rites of spring was transformed from a scene of cheers and sweaty triumph to one of screams and carnage.

Almost three-quarters of the 23,000 runners who participated in the race had already crossed the finish line when a bomb that had apparently been placed in a garbage can exploded around 2:50 p.m. in a haze of smoke amid a crowd of spectators on Boylston Street, just off Copley Square in the heart of the city. Thirteen seconds later, another bomb exploded several hundred feet away.

Pandemonium erupted as panicked runners and spectators scattered, and rescue workers rushed in to care for the dozens of maimed and injured, some of whom lost legs in the blast, witnesses said. The F.B.I. took the lead role in the investigation on Monday night, and Richard DesLauriers, the special agent in charge of the bureau’s Boston office, described the inquiry at a news conference as “a criminal investigation that is a potential terrorist investigation.”

The reverberations were felt far outside the city, with officials in New York and Washington stepping up security at important locations. Near the White House, the Secret Service cordoned off Pennsylvania Avenue out of what one official described as “an abundance of caution.”

President Obama, speaking at the White House, vowed to bring those responsible for the blasts to justice. “We will get to the bottom of this,” the president said. “We will find who did this, and we will find out why they did this. Any responsible individuals, any responsible groups will feel the full weight of justice.”

Mr. Obama did not refer to the attacks as an act of terrorism, and he cautioned people from “jumping to conclusions” based on incomplete information. But a White House official, speaking on the condition of anonymity afterward, said, “Any event with multiple explosive devices — as this appears to be — is clearly an act of terror, and will be approached as an act of terror.”

“However,” the official added, “we don’t yet know who carried out this attack, and a thorough investigation will have to determine whether it was planned and carried out by a terrorist group, foreign or domestic.”

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The Cole Bombing Legacy

In al Qaeda, Other Terrorist Events on October 12, 2010 at 12:40 pm

Ali Soufan writes another op-ed for NYTimes, this time about the legacy of the Cole bombing:

TEN years ago, Qaeda terrorists blew a hole in the side of the Navy destroyer Cole in Yemen, killing 17 sailors. Yet the attack’s mastermind still hasn’t been prosecuted, and many of the men tried and imprisoned for the bombing are again free.

As Washington debates whether to increase aid to Yemen, it should first remember its duty to seek justice for those sailors — and to heed the broader national-security lessons from the attack.

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JFK Terminal Re-opens after July 4 Bomb Scare

In Other Terrorist Events on July 5, 2010 at 8:12 am

300 people evacuated aftyer caller threatens bomb:

A terminal at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York was evacuated Sunday evening for about two hours after a caller phoned in a threat, according to a spokesman for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.John Kelly of the Port Authority said a female caller claimed there was a bomb in Terminal One in a call about 5:40 p.m.

“Using the utmost due diligence, we evacuated the terminal,” Kelly said. About 300 people were inside at the time, he said.

Once the terminal had been searched, the evacuation was ended shortly after 8 p.m., Kelly said.

Kelly said an earlier, unrelated incident at the same terminal occurred when a Port Authority officer noticed an unattended bag. That bag was examined and cleared, he said.

Faisal Shahzad, the Pakistani-Born Times Square Bomber, Is Talking, but Pieces of Puzzle Still Missing

In Other Terrorist Events on May 8, 2010 at 9:45 am


The Pakistani-American who police say admitted to igniting a failed car bomb in busy Times Square has made no court appearance since his arrest early this week and, though he is cooperating, authorities remain unsure he was acting alone.

New York City Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly declined Friday to discuss what Faisal Shahzad is telling investigators, including what his motives were. He was arrested Monday aboard a Dubai-bound plane two days after the nighttime bomb scare cleared several blocks of the bustling district.

“This individual is cooperating. In these types of situations, you let the information flow, so to speak,” Kelly said.

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Police Follow Clues to New York City Times Square Bomber

In Other Terrorist Events on May 8, 2010 at 9:33 am

For audio clips, see NPR.  From AP:

Police investigating a possible terrorist attack that could have set off a deadly fireball in Times Square focused Sunday on finding a man who was videotaped shedding his shirt near the SUV where the bomb was found.

Police said the gasoline-and-propane bomb was crude but could have sprayed shrapnel and metal parts with enough force to kill pedestrians and knock out windows on one of America’s busiest streets, full of Broadway theaters and restaurants on a Saturday night.

More than 100 pounds of fertilizer rigged with wires and fireworks were found with the bomb, but police said it was not the ammonium nitrate grade that can explode.

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U.S. Small Plane Pilot Crashes into Austin IRS Building

In Other Terrorist Events on February 19, 2010 at 9:03 am

Terrorism in Austin, Texas:

A pilot furious with the Internal Revenue Service crashed his small plane into an Austin, Texas, office building where nearly 200 federal tax employees work on Thursday, igniting a raging fire that sent massive plumes of thick, black smoke rising from the seven-story structure.

Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo said the incident was a single act by a sole individual, who appeared to be targeting the federal building. He refused to classify it as terrorism.

“I call it a cowardly, criminal act and there was no excuse for it,” Acevedo said at a news conference.

The Department of Homeland Security said it did not believe the crash was an act of terrorism. President Obama was briefed on the incident. As a precaution, the Colorado-based North American Aerospace Defense Command launched two F-16 aircraft from Houston’s Ellington Field, and was conducting an air patrol over the crash area.

The FBI identified the pliot as Joseph Stack, a 53-year-old software engineer. Stack was confirmed dead, but his body has not yet been recovered.

At least one person who worked in the building was unaccounted for and two people were hospitalized, thirteen others were treated and released said Austin Fire Department Division Chief Dawn Clopton.

Emergency crews found two bodies in the building late Thursday evening, but wouldn’t identify them.

Texas Republican Congressman Michael McCaul told reported the incident was, “not tied to overseas terror organizations.”

A U.S. law official said investigators were looking at a lengthy, anti-government “manifesto” Stack is believed to have written on his Web site. The message outlines problems with the IRS and says violence “is the only answer.” Read the rest of this entry »

The Terror Plots of 2009

In Other Terrorist Events, Post-9/11 Domestic Anti-Terrorism Efforts on January 13, 2010 at 11:52 am

Most of the terror plots of 2009 were uncoordinated, or marginally coordinated, by al Qaeda or any other terrorist organization.  Was 2009 the Year of the Lone Wolf?

As terrorist plots against the United States have piled up in recent months, politicians and the news media have sounded the alarm with a riveting message for Americans: Be afraid. Al Qaeda is on the march again, targeting the country from within and without, and your hapless government cannot protect you.

But the politically charged clamor has lumped together disparate cases and obscured the fact that the enemies on American soil in 2009, rather than a single powerful and sophisticated juggernaut, were a scattered, uncoordinated group of amateurs who displayed more fervor than skill. The weapons were old-fashioned guns and explosives — in several cases, duds supplied by F.B.I. informants — with no trace of the biological or radiological poisons, let alone the nuclear bombs, that have long been the ultimate fear.

And though 2009 brought more domestic plots, and more serious plots, than any recent year, their lethality was relatively modest. Exactly 14 of the approximately 14,000 murders in the United States last year resulted from allegedly jihadist attacks: 13 people shot at Fort Hood in Texas in November and one at a military recruiting station in Little Rock, Ark., in June.

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Abdulmutallab, the Underwear Bomber, Pleads Not Guilty

In al Qaeda, Other Terrorist Events on January 8, 2010 at 8:55 pm

Innocent until proven guilty:

A young Nigerian man, wearing a white T-shirt and tennis shoes, did not speak much Friday during his first public court hearing to face charges of trying to ignite a chemical-laden explosive on a U.S. airliner on Christmas Day.Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab gave a one word answer — “yes” — when asked whether he understood the charges against him. Magistrate Judge Mark A. Randon entered a not guilty plea for the 23-year-old, who could face up to life in prison on the most serious charge — attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction.

Authorities say the young Nigerian with al-Qaida links was traveling from Amsterdam to Detroit when he tried to destroy the Northwest Airlines plane carrying nearly 300 people by injecting chemicals into a package of explosives concealed in his underwear. The failed attack caused popping sounds and flames that passengers and crew rushed to extinguish.

During his arraignment on Friday that lasted less than five minutes, Abdulmutallab stood at the podium along with Assistant U.S. Attorney Jonathan Tukel and defense attorney Miriam Siefer and answered a few questions in English from the judge.

The longest answer came when the judge asked if he had taken any drugs or alcohol in past 24 hours. Abdulmutallab answered: “some pain pills.” Siefer then said he was competent to understand the proceedings. Abdulmutallab, who is being held at a federal prison in Milan, Mich., had been treated at a hospital for burns after the attack.

His attorneys then waived the reading of the indictment, and Randon entered the not guilty plea. It is routine practice in federal court for the defendant to allow the judge to enter a plea on his behalf rather than say anything himself.

President Barack Obama’s counterterrorism adviser, John Brennan, has said Abdulmutallab would be offered a plea deal in exchange for valuable information about his contacts in Yemen and elsewhere.

After the hearing, one of Abdulmutallab’s attorneys, Leroy Soles, declined to talk about the case.

“It’s just too soon in the process to make any comment,” Soles said.

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