Feds Warn of Anarchist Plots To Disrupt Conventions

The Slatest
Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Aug. 23 2012 9:15 AM

Feds Warn of Anarchist Plots To Disrupt Conventions

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Maybe the possibility of a hurricane crashing the RNC is the least of convention planners' worries.

Josh Voorhees Josh Voorhees

Josh Voorhees is a Slate senior writer. He lives in Iowa City. 

Law enforcement officials are concerned about violent anarchists disrupting both parties upcoming national conventions, according to an intelligence bulletin prepared by the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security and obtained by CNN. Among the fears: that the extremists groups will use improvised explosive devices and/or cause general chaos with the local transportation infrastructure.

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It's unclear exactly how concerned federal authorities are about such a possibility, partly because the FBI routinely issues intelligence bulletins ahead of major events to warn local authorities of potential security concerns. The report mentions one specific threat—from a group of individuals from New York who had been planning to go to Tampa Bay and attempt to close all area bridges during the Republican National Convention—but leaves it unclear if that plot relied on explosives or other less-violent tactics.

More from CNN:

The agencies said that before the 2008 Republican National Convention in Minneapolis, anarchists discussed blocking bridges and sky walks, taking over a radio station, targeting corporations and identifying hotels where delegates were staying. The anarchists also talked about identifying the location of police stations and emergency routes, according to law enforcement officials. The document, however, doesn't provide details of what anarchists allegedly wanted to do with that information.
"FBI and DHS assess with high confidence anarchist extremists will target similar infrastructure in Tampa and Charlotte, with potentially significant impacts on public safety and transportation," according to the law enforcement alert. The Democratic National Convention is being held in Charlotte, North Carolina, in early September.

You can read the full CNN report here.

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