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Long Island Malls Targeted for Terror Attacks on Black Friday
Netlore Archive:  Email rumor claims law enforcement officials are aware of a planned terrorist attack on four Long Island malls on Black Friday, November 26, 2004

Description:  Email rumor
Circulating since:  Oct. 2004
Status:  False
Analysis:  See below

Email example contributed by Jerry S., 25 October 2004:

I am sending this email to the Red Cross to inquire. Nonetheless, please read it and try and shop around Nov. 26, not THE 26th. Her email is not a "forward to 10 people" It is personally written and personally sent to her friends based on facts she is personally aware of.

Hello all,

Some information has come to me. It has not been released to the general public, but it's something we all need to be aware of.

A couple of weeks ago someone was seen taking photos of my ambulance company in Bay Shore. This same person was seen outside Exchange Ambulance in Islip doing the same. The police were notified and the person was apprehended outside Southside hospital, again taking photos.

He is a man of Middle Eastern descent and is being held for investigation. It seems that he was gathering information about our response capabilities in a mass casualty attack. The NY Field Office of the FBI held a meeting at Bay Shore Fire Department for officials from the local PD, EMS and FD's. They have information from this man and from their own intelligence that a mass attack is planned for Long Island.

On Black Friday (November 26) 4 Long Island Malls are supposed to be hit simultaneously with chemical weapons. This would be the first time a chemical weapon is used in the United States. Forces from NYC and Washington DC would be diverted to aid here on Long Island leaving these areas vulnerable. A second attack would take place in these areas. Ever since 9/11 EMS has undergone extensive training on how to deal with a terrorist attack and to think it could really happen here is terrifying.

There is also concern about car bombings as a large number of vehicles have gone missing in Nassau and Suffolk counties. Ambulances, taxi's,commercial vans and airport limos have been reported stolen. These vehicles look perfectly innocent driving through our neighborhoods and no one would think twice about seeing them.

This is not an internet scam. The officers at my department were at this meeting and I saw the minutes myself. I figure it's pretty serious if the FBI made an appearance to share what they know.

I'm not sure why this isn't being released to the public. I can only assume that if this got out, no one would shop and it would be devastating to our economy.

I do not want to spread panic, only information. Take from this what you will, but I needed to let you all know. I love you all and I felt I needed to share this with you. I know it's hard to believe. I can't believe that an Al Qaeda operative was only a few blocks from my home.

Comments:  Whether it's the result of deliberate fearmongering or a simple misunderstanding I do not know, but I can say, based on public statements by Long Island police and ambulance officials, not to mention the FBI, that the above warning is false. Authorities say they are not aware of any terrorist plot to wage chemical attacks on local malls or car bombings in Nassau and Suffolk counties on "Black Friday," November 26, generally regarded as the busiest shopping day of the year.

According to Don Einsfeld of Exchange Ambulance in Islip, New YOrk, the misinformation appears to have been inspired by printed materials used two months ago in a terror drill conducted by local police and volunteer ambulance drivers. The fictional premise of that drill, notes Einsfeld, was that terrorists were planning a chemical attack on Long Island malls the day after Thanksgiving — Black Friday.

Slightly complicating matters, the practice materials also mentioned a potentially ominous event that really did happen — an unidentified person was spotted taking photographs outside Bay Shore's Southside Hospital and Exchange Ambulance headquarters in Islip. Contrary to what the email claims, however, the mysterious photographer probably wasn't Middle Eastern — his ethnicity couldn't be determined by those who saw him, in fact — nor was he arrested and held for questioning by authorities. An FBI spokesman told Newsday that an investigation of the incident turned up "nothing suspicious."

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Sources and further reading:

Terror Email a Hoax
Newsday, 7 November 2004

Long Island's Malls Not Prepared for Attacks
Long Island Press, 6 May 2004

U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security: News Room
Current press bulletins

Last updated: 11/07/04

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