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DATE News (chronologically)
05/13/08
irl
FBI: No credibility to Indy 500 terror threats
The Indianapolis 500 is an attractive target for terrorists, federal authorities said, but there has been no credible or specific threat aimed at the Memorial Day weekend race.

In an internal FBI/Homeland Security Department assessment released Monday to local police, officials said such sporting events, which attract hundreds of thousands of spectators, are potential targets. The assessment said these popular events are inviting to terrorists because of the potential to inflict large numbers of casualties while the whole world is watching.

The assessment is supported by a congressional report, expected to be released this week, about the threat to mass gatherings. The report, written by the democratic staff on the House Homeland Security committee, finds that major events - such as NASCAR races, the Super Bowl and presidential nominating conventions - are all attractive targets to terrorists. The report also raised the potential for infectious disease outbreaks and other bioterror threats at such events.

Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., said first responders and private organizations are working hard to secure these events and prepare for mass casualties. But Thompson, chairman of the House committee that wrote the report, said in a statement Monday, "Without increased federal support and guidance, mass gatherings will remain vulnerable."

Officials estimate between 200,000 and 300,000 people from around the world will attend the Indy 500.

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