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Long Island Terror Email Hoax

Summary:
Email claims that a terrorist attack on Long Island will occur on the 26th November, 2004 (Full commentary below.)



Status:
False

Example:(Submitted, November 2004)
Subject: terror attack Long Island Malls

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.




Commentary:
During November 2004 an email began circulating that claimed that a terrorist attack on Long Island was to occur on the 26th November, supposedly involving chemical weapons. However, there was no evidence to support the claims made in the email and authorities dismissed it as a hoax. No such attack eventuated.

It is believed that the information in the email was derived from an anti-terrorist training exercise conducted by the volunteer ambulance corps and law enforcement agencies. The drill involved a scenario in which malls were attacked with chemical weapons. The email claims that police apprehended a "man of Middle Eastern descent" for taking photographs of an ambulance company. However, police have denied that such an arrest occurred.

Although the original email may have been sent as a result of a genuine misunderstanding, or as a sick joke, it was most likely just an attempt to spread unnecessary fear and alarm. Since the WTC attack, there have been a number of false terrorist attack "warnings" circulated via email. In a world plagued by the spectre of terrorism, perpetrating a hoax like this one is particularly abhorrent.

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Last updated: 8th December 2009
First published: November 2004

Write-up by Brett M. Christensen