UPDATE: In a follow up to our previous report on the law enforcement terror advisory for Austin, Texas, we have confirmed both that the terrorism threat is real and that there is a simultaneous multi-agency terror drill going down in Austin right now.
We want to know why the press release on the Homeland Security drill wasn’t sent to the media until August 7th — the day before the actual terror threat — and why press coverage about the threat advisory – appearing on local news channel KXAN – only emerged on the night of the 8th, while the reported Austin threat was already underway. Furthermore, we’re now being told the Texas Military Forces protection alert sent to police and law enforcement a few weeks ago – and since leaked to the public – was “sent out by mistake“.
How is this in the interest of public safety to withhold confirmed terror threat information from the public while simultaneously telling people there’s a Homeland Security drill at the same time and to quote “not be alarmed if they observe unordinary law enforcement or first responder activity over the next few weeks in the Austin area”?
Things that make you go “hmm”…
Law enforcement ‘on alert’ for ‘unconfirmed’ and ‘random’ potential terrorist attacks in Austin, while failing to warn the public of the threat.
While U.S. embassies around the globe have been shut down and travelers cautioned over a vague terror threat officials claim resembles pre-9/11 activity, law enforcement and counter-terrorism authorities in Austin, Texas did not issue a warning of terror threats to residents, despite a city-specific threat sent only to law enforcement.
A Homeland Security warning about ‘Possible Terrorist Threat to Venues in Austin, TX in August,’ was sent out July 19, 2013 warning of “unconfirmed” possible “random terrorist attacks” that – while supposedly “random” – specify several targets, noting supposed “plans to plant back-pack style bombs on 6th street on either 8 or 9 August.”
In edition to 6th Street, a downtown location busy with nightlife, the threat advisory claimed there were also plans to “attack a school and a theological seminary in the downtown Austin area and complete the attack with operations at the Austin Bergstrom International Airport.” The “unconfirmed” warning of “random” attacks further noted a backup date, August 29th, if the 8th and 9th weren’t considered “a viable option.”
It is hard to imagine that such specific and detailed information could be part of a credible, yet somehow “unconfirmed” and “random” terrorism threat; instead, it reads like the prompt for a large-scale terrorism drill, including preparation response cues, like the many “Operation Urban Shield” drills that have been conducted by Homeland Security, including one which occurred on April 15 during the Boston Marathon where Boston and Homeland Security’s finest were on scene during the bombing.
Here’s the leaked threat assessment:
While the public has not been warned of an impending terror threat, the Texas Department of Public Safety did issue a press release on August 7 with information about drills it would be conducting in Austin during that same time period: “Multiple Law Enforcement Agencies to Conduct Homeland Security Exercise in Austin.”
“The public should not be alarmed if they observe unordinary law enforcement or first responder activity over the next few weeks in the Austin area,” said DPS Director Steven McCraw, who also serves as the Texas Homeland Security Director.
Law enforcement were also instructed to “Watch for persons observing, photographing, or videotaping” and “undue curiosity,” adding a layer of suspicion towards any journalists or citizens who might be covering the drill / “random” terror threat in order to hold drill participants accountable should anything go wrong.