Joint Threat Assessment – Special Events Working Group
(U) Super Bowl XLIII
16 January 2009
(U//FOUO) Prepared by the DHS/Critical Infrastructure Threat Analysis Division, the FBI/Threat Review Unit, the FBI/Tampa Division, U.S. Northern Command, the National Counterterrorism Center, the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, and the Florida Fusion Center. The Interagency Threat Assessment and Coordination Group reviewed this product from the perspectives of our non-federal partners.
(U//FOUO) Super Bowl XLIII carries a Level I Special Event Assessment Rating (SEAR), which requires the Federal Interagency Special Events Working Group to prepare a Joint Special Event Threat Assessment. This assessment provides the shared perspectives of DHS, the FBI, the National Counterterrorism Center, U.S. Northern Command, and federal, state, and local law enforcement communities regarding the potential threats to the National Football League’s (NFL’s)USPER Super Bowl XLIII, which will be played on 1 February 2009 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida.
This assessment addresses international and domestic terrorism threats, cyber and criminal threats and trends, as well as threats from the foreign counterintelligence perspective. Information from the FBI Tampa Field Office, Florida field offices of DHS component agencies, and Florida state and local law enforcement is incorporated in this assessment.
(U//FOUO) The SEAR I designation applies only to the championship game; this assessment also addresses officially sanctioned events in the Tampa area beginning on 24 January 2009. Associated venues include the Marriott Waterside Hotel, NFL headquarters for the game; the InterContinental Hotel and the Grand Hyatt Tampa Bay, where the two teams will stay; the media center at the Tampa Convention Center; and the team practice facilities at One Buccaneer Place and the University of South Florida.
(U) Warning: This document is UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY (U//FOUO). It contains information that may be exempt from public release under the Freedom of Information Act (5 U.S.C. 552). It is to be controlled, stored, handled, transmitted, distributed, and disposed of in accordance with DHS policy relating to FOUO information and is not to be released to the public, the media, or other personnel who do not have a valid need-to-know without prior approval of an authorized DHS official. State and local homeland security officials may share this document with authorized security personnel without further approval from DHS.
(U) This product contains U.S. person information that has been deemed necessary for the intended recipient to understand, assess, or act on the information provided. It has been highlighted in this document with the label USPER and should be handled in accordance with the recipient's intelligence oversight and/or information handling procedures. Other U.S. person information has been minimized. Should you require the minimized U.S. person information, please contact the DHS/I&A Production Branch at IA.PM@hq.dhs.gov
, or IA.PM@dhs.ic.gov.
UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY (U) Key Findings
(U//FOUO) At this time, DHS, the FBI, the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC), U.S. Northern Command (NORTHCOM), and the greater Tampa area law enforcement community have no identified, credible terrorist threats to Super Bowl XLIII and associated events or venues. The high-profile nature of the Super Bowl, however, could make it a desirable target for a violent organization or individual seeking to take advantage of the intense media coverage.
(U//FOUO) The placement of explosive devices in heavily trafficked areas is assessed as the most likely mode of terrorist attack. Security breaches facilitated by stolen or counterfeit credentials and insider operatives pose additional threats to stadium security.
(U//FOUO) DHS, the FBI, NCTC, NORTHCOM, and the greater Tampa area law enforcement community lack information indicating a cyber or foreign counterintelligence threat to the Super Bowl.
(U//FOUO) The highly visible security presence at the stadium will be an important deterrent to potential attackers. Prospective attackers may view nearby infrastructure such as hotels and restaurants as more feasible targets; attacks on such facilities would allow terrorists to take advantage of the Super Bowl’s extensive media coverage to promote their agenda.
(U) Event Overview
(U//FOUO) Super Bowl XLIII, the National Football League (NFL) championship game, will be played on Sunday, 1 February 2009 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida. The stadium, located three miles north of downtown Tampa, occupies more than 19 acres and stands more than seven stories tall. The stadium will have a seating capacity of 72,500 for the Super Bowl. Organizers expect many VIPs to attend the game, which will be televised internationally with an expected viewing audience of more than 100 million people.
(U) See Appendix A for Tampa-area maps and locator images of the event venues and Appendix B for a full list of official events and locations.
(U) Terrorist Overview and Threat Environment
(U//FOUO) At this time, DHS, the FBI, NCTC, NORTHCOM, and the greater Tampa area law enforcement community lack credible reporting indicating terrorist groups are planning to target Raymond James Stadium or other Super Bowl-associated venues and events. Domestic and international terrorists have targeted major sporting events in the past, including the 1972 Munich and 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games. Al-Qa‘ida and other terrorists may view sporting events as attractive targets: the al-Qa‘ida Training Manual specifically lists “…blasting and destroying the places of amusement, immorality, and sin…and attacking vital economic centers” as a required mission of the al-Qa‘ida military organization.
(U) International Terrorists
(U//FOUO) DHS, the FBI, NCTC, NORTHCOM, and the greater Tampa area law enforcement community lack credible reporting indicating al-Qa‘ida or other international terrorists are planning to attack the Super Bowl stadium or other infrastructure associated with the event.
(U//FOUO) Al-Qa‘ida and affiliated terrorist groups have attacked lightly defended or symbolic targets around the world, including hotels, housing compounds, nightclubs, places of worship, restaurants, and schools. These types of open-access facilities in the vicinity of major events often lack the extensive security measures in place at primary event facilities, thus offering terrorists better opportunities to achieve objectives such as mass casualties and disruption.
— (U//FOUO) The visible presence of hundreds of well-equipped security officers, standoff barriers, and other security measures at Raymond James Stadium during the Super Bowl will likely deter potential attacks.
— (U//FOUO) Many hotels and resorts in the Tampa metropolitan area will be full and will not have as many or as visible security measures in place as Raymond James Stadium, however.
(U) Domestic Terrorists
(U//FOUO) DHS, the FBI, NCTC, NORTHCOM, and the greater Tampa area law enforcement community have no intelligence indicating domestic terrorists, which can include certain hate groups, anarchist groups, single-issue groups, or lone offenders, plan to conduct attacks against or coinciding with the Super Bowl. Domestic terrorists have attacked soft targets in the past, however, and probably view major sporting events in large stadiums and associated events in surrounding areas as desirable targets to gain media coverage for their cause or issue. The Super Bowl’s stature as a major media event commanding world attention likely increases its attractiveness to domestic terrorists, whether acting alone or as part of a group.
(U//FOUO) A review of current information on domestic terrorism, nonetheless, does not indicate that known groups or individuals have the motivation, plans, or capability to target Raymond James Stadium or any of the other venues and events. The expected large presence of law enforcement and other public safety officials as well as the well-publicized augmentation of security measures sharply reduce the likelihood of a large-scale violent action from domestic terrorists.
(U//FOUO) DHS, the FBI, NCTC, NORTHCOM, and the greater Tampa area law enforcement community cannot discount that a lone offender—a homegrown violent extremist who typically is a radicalized individual inspired to conduct terrorist attacks in support of an ideology or cause—may try to attack a Super Bowl event venue. A lone offender’s operational planning is often difficult to detect because of the potential attacker’s familiarity with U.S. culture and society and an absence of visible links to known domestic or international terrorist groups or networks.
— (U//FOUO) A Phoenix federal jury in June 2008 found a Tempe, Arizona man guilty of mailing threatening communications in conjunction with threats he made to injure people in the vicinity of the 2008 Super Bowl event in Glendale, Arizona. Such lone terrorists are particularly challenging for law enforcement to detect and preempt because of the isolated and limited nature of planning and preoperational activities.
(U) Criminal Threat Trends and Environment
(U//FOUO) At this time, DHS, the FBI, NCTC, NORTHCOM, and the greater Tampa area law enforcement community lack credible reporting indicating a specific criminal action directed specifically at the Super Bowl or associated venues. Historically, however, several criminal elements are present at such prominent events and have the potential to affect Super Bowl operations.
(U) Foreign Intelligence Threat Environment
(U//FOUO) DHS, the FBI, NCTC, NORTHCOM, and the greater Tampa area law enforcement community have no information indicating a foreign intelligence threat to the Super Bowl. The presence of many corporate executives, politicians, and VIPs in one location, however, may present a collection opportunity for foreign intelligence services.
(U) Cyber Threat Environment
(U//FOUO) At this time, DHS, the FBI, NCTC, NORTHCOM, and the greater Tampa area law enforcement community have no information indicating a cyber threat to the Super Bowl, and a review of FBI Tampa cyber program information yielded no potential cyber threat intelligence pertaining to the event or related venues.
(U) Transportation Threat Environment
(U//FOUO) DHS, the FBI, NCTC, NORTHCOM, and the greater Tampa area law enforcement community lack credible reporting indicating terrorist intent to attack Tampa International Airport or any other airport in central Florida. A review of recent investigative cases yielded no indications of specific targeting or surveillance for future attacks.
(U//FOUO) See Appendix C for the DHS/Transportation Security Administration Office of Intelligence Transportation Threat Assessment, which addresses other transit venues that could be considered attractive targets.
(U) Scenarios of Concern
(U) Improvised Explosive Devices
(U//FOUO) DHS, the FBI, NCTC, NORTHCOM, and the greater Tampa area law enforcement community assess that terrorists intent on attacking a stadium most likely would use one or more improvised explosive devices (IEDs) or vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices (VBIEDs). Such an attack during a major event would inflict immediate casualties and destruction as well as create fear and panic among survivors. Terrorists also could use IEDs or VBIEDs against crowded, unsecured targets nearby, such as local businesses and public parking lots, as a diversion or as secondary devices to kill and injure first responders. Any such attacks would attract the extensive media attention most terrorists seek.
(U) Suicide Bombers
(U//FOUO) DHS, the FBI, NCTC, NORTHCOM, and the greater Tampa area law enforcement community have no indication that any group or individual plans to implement a suicide attack on the Super Bowl, but suicide bombing is a widely used terrorist tactic overseas against locations where people are concentrated.
A February 2006 posting on a jihadist message board—subsequently reproduced on other websites—provided tactical information for a multiple suicide bomber attack against a sporting event to create a stampede and incite panic.
— (U//FOUO) The author of the posting recommended the bombers use handmade explosive belts hidden under their clothing. The posting outlined how a suicide bomber would detonate explosives inside the stadium, after which other operatives would detonate their bombs at the exit gates where they expected panicked spectators to flee. The author believed the combined explosions would create a stampede that would kill more people than the bombings themselves.
(U) Security Breaches and Insider Threats
(U//FOUO) The large number of contractors, media personnel, stadium employees, and vendors who will attend the Super Bowl could help cover efforts by terrorists to gain access inside the stadium. Stolen or counterfeit law enforcement badges and credentials purchased online—often of high quality and hard to differentiate from legitimate credentials—can facilitate unauthorized entry.
(U//FOUO) DHS, the FBI, NCTC, NORTHCOM, and the greater Tampa area law enforcement community lack credible intelligence indicating terrorists or criminals will attempt to gain access to restricted areas by impersonating government or military officials or emergency personnel, but detecting and detaining such individuals will pose an important security challenge throughout the week. The theft during 2008 of large quantities of law enforcement uniforms and credentials in central Florida heightens concern that terrorists could pose as imposters to gain unauthorized entry to event venues.
(U) Impersonation Tactics Used Overseas— (U//FOUO) The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office (HCSO) reports the loss of 26 credentials or identification cards between 8 January 2008 and 23 October 2008. All reported lost credentials are deactivated. Additional reporting revealed the theft of several law enforcement badges, five law enforcement uniforms, and 25 commercial security guard uniforms. Other cumulative reporting also included the theft of a law enforcement issued laptop computer and air card, computer forensic equipment, a radio, body armor, hand cuffs, a taser, and weapons.
(U//FOUO) Intelligence reporting indicates terrorists affiliated with al-Qa‘ida, Sunni extremists, HAMAS, Hizballah, and other groups have used some form of impersonation in connection with attacks overseas. The goal of this tactic is to gain access to restricted areas or gain closer proximity to the target while not raising suspicion of an impending attack.
(U//FOUO) Past incidents in or around stadiums, although not terrorist-related, reinforce the need for careful and thorough security measures at major events such as the Super Bowl.
— (U//FOUO) During the 2007 Super Bowl, Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office detectives arrested a subject in a restricted area at Dolphins Stadium who was under investigation for making and detonating pipe bombs. He had been able to drive his vehicle into restricted areas during the game and managed to access the player areas by presenting various credentials to stadium security officers and claiming to be associated with the press.
(U) Intelligence Gaps
(U//FOUO) International or domestic terrorist group’s or homegrown extremist’s plans to attack Super Bowl XLIII facilities, including nearby soft targets and related events.
(U//FOUO) Surveillance or preoperational activities by any group or individual in support of an unlawful disruption of or terrorist attack on this event or on soft targets nearby.
(U//FOUO) Criminal enterprise plans to target the mass numbers of persons attending Super Bowl XLIII and related events for criminal activity and vandalism.
(U//FOUO) Cyber threats to infrastructure that may adversely affect the operations of Super Bowl XLIII.
(U//FOUO) Unique opportunities for foreign intelligence collection during Super Bowl XLIII.
(U) Reporting Notice:
(U) DHS and the FBI encourage recipients of this document to report information concerning suspicious or criminal activity to DHS and the FBI. The DHS National Operations Center (NOC) can be reached by telephone at 202-282-9685 or by e-mail at NOC.Fusion@dhs.gov. For information affecting the private sector and critical infrastructure, contact the National Infrastructure Coordinating Center (NICC), a sub- element of the NOC. The NICC can be reached by telephone at 202-282-9201 or by e-mail at NICC@dhs.gov. The FBI regional phone numbers can be found online at http://www.fbi.gov/contact/fo/fo.htm. When available, each report submitted should include the date, time, location, type of activity, number of people and type of equipment used for the activity, the name of the submitting company or organization, and a designated point of contact.
(U) For comments or questions related to the content or dissemination of this document, please contact the DHS/I&A Production Branch at IA.PM@hq.dhs.gov, IA.PM@dhs.sgov.gov, or IA.PM@dhs.ic.gov.
(U) Tracked by: HSEC-022000-01-05, HSEC-022100-01-05, HSEC-030000-01-05, TERR-020600-01-05
(U) Appendix A: Tampa Area Maps(U) Appendix B: Event Venues
(U//FOUO) Figure 1: Super Bowl XLIII Venues
UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY
(U//FOUO) Figure 2: Transportation Overview
UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY
(U//FOUO) Figure 3: Super Bowl XLIII, Raymond James Stadium
UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY
(U//FOUO) Figure 4: National Football League Headquarters, Marriott Waterside
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(U//FOUO) Figure 5: National Football Conference Team Hotel, Grand Hyatt Tampa Bay
UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY
(U//FOUO) Figure 6: American Football Conference Team Hotel, InterContinental Tampa
UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY
(U//FOUO) Figure 7: Media Center, Tampa Convention Center
UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY
(U) Game Site: Raymond James Stadium, 4201 North Dale Mabry Highway, Tampa, Florida.
(U//FOUO) Hotel for NFL Officials and Guests: Marriott Waterside, 700 South Florida Avenue, Tampa, Florida.
(U//FOUO) Team Hotels: InterContinental Hotel, 4860 W. Kennedy Blvd, Tampa; Grand Hyatt Tampa Bay, 2900 Bayport Drive, Tampa, Florida.
(U) Media Center: Tampa Convention Center, 333 S. Franklin Street, Tampa, Florida. (U//FOUO) Team Practice Facilities: One Buccaneer Place, Tampa; University of South Florida, 4202 E Fowler Avenue, Tampa, Florida. (U) Associated Events:
— (U) The “NFL Experience” 24 January 2009 through 1 February 2009, Raymond James Stadium.
— (U) The NFL-sanctioned Media Party, Florida Aquarium, 701 Channelside
Drive, Tampa, 27 January 2009.
— (U) The Pepsi Concert, Ford Amphitheater, 4802 US 301 North, Tampa, 29 and
30 January 2009.
— (U) The Hall of Fame Lunch, the Columbia Restaurant, 2117 E. 7th Avenue, Tampa, 30 January 2009.
— (U) The NFL Commissioner’s Party, Tampa Convention Center, 333 S. Franklin
Street, Tampa, 30 January 2009.
— (U) The NFL Charities Golf Tournament, Innisbrook Resort, 36750 U.S.
Highway 19 North, Palm Harbor, 31 January 2009.
— (U) The Super Bowl Saturday Night, Vinoy Park, Saint Petersburg, 31 January
— (U) The Taste of the NFL, Tropicana Field, One Tropicana Drive, Saint Petersburg, 31 January 2009.
Transportation Security Administration Office of Intelligence
UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY
8 December 2008
(U) TSA-OI Transportation Threat Assessment
Super Bowl XLIII - Tampa
Warning: This document is UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY (U//FOUO). It contains information that may be exempt from public release under the Freedom of Information Act (5 U.S.C. 552). It is to be controlled, stored, handled, transmitted, distributed, and disposed of in accordance with DHS policy relating to FOUO information and is not to be released to the public, the media, or other personnel who do not have a valid “need-to-know” without prior approval of an authorized TSA official. No portion of this report should be furnished to the media, either in written or verbal form.
(U) Scope Note/Executive Summary
(U) This 2009 Super Bowl XLIII Assessment focuses on the threat to public transportation infrastructure and assets operating in and around the Tampa Bay, Florida, area during the pre-Super Bowl celebration events and the Super Bowl, to be held 1 February 2009. Super Bowl XLIII has been designated a Special Event Activity Report (SEAR) level 1 security special event (see text box right). The Department of Homeland Security Special Events Working Group determines the SEAR levels for events occurring in the United States.
(U//FOUO) The Transportation Security Administration Office of Intelligence (TSA- OI) is not aware of any current, specific, or credible threats targeting public transportation sectors that have been linked to Super Bowl XLIII or its related events and activities. Statements by al-Qa’ida leaders show that the organization remains intent on conducting attacks against U.S. interests in the Homeland and abroad. This was demonstrated by the recent attacks against U.S. Embassy
(U) The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Special Events Working Group (SEWG) makes the determination of Special Event Assessment Rating (SEAR) levels for events occurring in the United States.
(U) SEAR 1: Events of significant national and/or international importance that may require extensive federal interagency security and incident management preparedness.
(U) SEAR 2: Significant events with national and/or international importance that may require direct national-level federal support and situational awareness.
(U) SEAR 3: Events of national and/or international importance that require only limited direct federal support to augment local capabilities.
(U) SEAR 4: Events with limited national importance that are generally handled at the state and local level.
(U) SEAR 5: Events that may be nationally recognized but generally have local or
Yemen and the Marriott Hotel in Pakistan. Other attacks and disrupted plots against transportation targets in the United States and overseas indicate that the transportation industry remains a desirable target for a terrorist attack. Examples of such attacks include:
• (U) January 2008: the disrupted plot to bomb the Barcelona metro
• (U) June 2007: the UK-Glasgow Airport attack and the disrupted John F.
Kennedy Airport bomb plot
• (U) August 2006: the disrupted UK-U.S. aviation plot
• (U) July 2006: the Mumbai railway attacks
• (U) 2005: the London transit bombings
• (U) 2004: the Madrid commuter rail bombings
(U//LES) Domestic extremist groups or lone wolves could also use the vast media coverage of the Super Bowl as a means to further their own personal or political agendas, possibly through conducting or inciting violence. However, there is no information to suggest that domestic terrorists or activist groups are planning to engage in any adverse activity during Super Bowl XLIII.
(U) TSA-OI Threat Assessment
(U) The Super Bowl, often the year’s biggest television event, is expected to be watched by more than 100 million people worldwide and broadcast in 232 countries. The event will take place on 1 February 2009 at 6 p.m. (EST) at Raymond James Stadium, an expandable venue that will be at the maximum capacity of 72,500 seats during the game. The stadium is located three miles north of downtown Tampa, Florida (a.k.a. Bay Area). Tampa is located in Hillsborough County on the west coast of Florida and is bordered by the Tampa and Hillsborough bays. It is the largest city in the Tampa—St. Petersburg—Clearwater metropolitan area.
(U) Pre-Game Events
(U) Raymond James Stadium
(U) Beginning in January 2009, the Tampa area will host a series of pre-game events like parades that typically lead up to the Super Bowl. These events are expected to draw large crowds of spectators, including professional football players and their families, prominent public figures, and celebrities.
(U) Threat to Stadiums
(U//FOUO) At this time, TSA-OI is not aware of any current or credible threats directed at Super Bowl XLIII or its venues. According to an 11 February 2008 DHS-FBI Joint Homeland Security Assessment, terrorists have considered arenas and stadiums as legitimate targets:
• (U) 12 November 2008: In Peshawar, Pakistan, a suicide bomber blew himself up near the crowded Qayyum Stadium during the concluding ceremony of the Inter- Provincial Games. The blast killed 4 people and injured 11.1
• (U) June 2008: Kurt HavelockUSPER, accused of planning to shoot spectators at the February 2008 Super Bowl XLII in Glendale, Arizona, was convicted in a Phoenix court on federal charges of mailing threatening communications. Havelock arrived at the venue armed with an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle and 200 rounds of ammunition. In a manifesto mailed to media outlets, Havelock vowed to “shed the blood of the innocent.” Havelock was seeking retaliation for being denied a liquor license for a restaurant. He subsequently turned himself in to authorities. In October 2008, Havelock was sentenced to a year and one day in prison and three years of supervised release.2,3
• (U//FOUO) October 2005: A University of Oklahoma student blew himself up in a park outside the Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium while a game was in progress. Authorities found no ties to terrorism, but the incident’s proximity to the stadium caused alarm.4
(U//FOUO) TSA-OI has no current or credible intelligence to indicate extremists are planning any pre-operational or surveillance activity at airports in the Tampa area or Florida. The Federal Aviation Administration is expected to issue a Temporary Flight Restriction in the area surrounding Raymond James Stadium during Super Bowl XLIII.
(U) Civil Aviation Airports
(U//FOUO) Terrorists continue to view commercial aircraft both as an attractive target and as a potential weapon to inflict mass casualties. Al-Qa’ida, its associates, and inspired groups pose the greatest threat to the U.S. civil aviation industry. The disrupted August 2006 plot by al-Qa’ida to target seven aircraft departing Heathrow International Airport for the United States and Canada illustrates its continuing efforts to thwart aviation security by exploiting known gaps in the protocols for screening airline passengers.
(U) International Airports
(U) Tampa International Airport
(U) The principal commercial airport serving the Tampa/St. Petersburg/Clearwater metropolitan area is the Tampa International Airport (TPA), is centrally located approximately five miles west of downtown Tampa. On an average day, TPA is home to more than 100,000 visitors.5
(U) The St. Petersburg-Clearwater International Airport is a joint civil-military airport located in Pinellas County, Florida. It sits in the middle of St. Petersburg, Sarasota, Clearwater, and Tampa, and is located 30 minutes west of Tampa.
(U) General Aviation Airports
(U//FOUO) There are approximately 16 general aviation airports within a 30 nautical mile-range of Raymond James Stadium. Among them is the Lakeland Linder Airport, in Lakeland, Florida.
• (U//FOUO) August 2007: A federal grand jury in Tampa indicted two University of South Florida students for transporting explosive materials across state lines without permits. One of the individuals pleaded guilty to providing material support to terrorists.6 During the investigation, documents on a computer associated with the students included a map of the area near the Lakeland Linder Airport.7 TSA-OI has not received any additional intelligence to indicate the Lakeland Linder Airport is being targeted for a future attack.
(U) Terrorists interested in using aircraft as weapons could consider using an airport close to a stadium hosting a major event, but no current reporting indicates terrorist interest in this tactic.
(U) Mass Transit and Rail
(U) TSA-OI is not aware of any current or credible reporting to indicate terrorists or extremists are planning to target transportation assets in or around the Tampa Bay area during Super Bowl XLIII. However, attacks on mass transit systems overseas indicate this transportation sector remains a desirable target for a terrorist strike.
(U//FOUO) A steady stream of reporting and previous attacks overseas indicate that al-Qa’ida, its associates, and other extremist groups remain the greatest threat to the U.S. mass transit industry. Past attacks have been especially effective against subways and commuter rail systems because they are easily accessible, operate on an advertised schedule, and concentrate large numbers of people into confined spaces, making it easier for terrorists to both plan and carry out attacks.
(U//FOUO) Although Tampa is primarily a driving city, it offers various types of mass transit into and around Tampa. The Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority (HART or HARTline) operates streetcars as well as an inter-city bus system. The HART manages 207 buses on 26 routes, 9 rubber-tired trolleys, and 8 historic electric streetcars that connect downtown Tampa with county-wide pick-up and drop-off locations. Amtrak provides services for the area via the Tampa Union Train Station, which is located in a historic building near downtown Tampa.
(U) The HART bus system has express buses which operate throughout Hillsborough County and into Pinellas County from downtown Tampa. In November 2007, as part of the revitalization of the historic West Tampa area, the “West Tampa Transfer Center,” which is located across the street from Raymond James Stadium, was opened. This facility is the transfer point for six local routes that carry more than 6,000 HART riders each weekday.
(U) The HART will not operate public transit to Raymond James Stadium on Super Bowl game day.8 However, many spectators are expected to travel to Super Bowl XLIII via long-haul motor carrier and charter buses, which will likely have designated parking areas away from the stadium.
(U) Greyhound provides services from their downtown Tampa station to nearby destinations such as Miami, Orlando, Sarasota, and Gainesville, as well as major U.S. cities outside Florida.
(U) Streetcars (In-Town Trolleys and the TECO Line)
(U) The free uptown-downtown trolleys and the TECO Line streetcars make it easy for shoppers, tourists, and convention goers to get around downtown Tampa and see the city sights. The in-town trolley travels through the business district while the TECO streetcar system links Ybor City, a historic Spanish District, the Channelside District entertainment complex, and downtown Tampa.
(U) TECO streetcar in Ybor City
(U) Tampa does not currently have a Metrorail system, although planning is underway.
(U) Tampa’s Amtrak Station offers north-south connections and provides links to nationwide rail travel. The Amtrak station is located between downtown Tampa and Ybor City at Tampa Union Station. This facility has recently been restored to its original use as an active train station and vital transportation hub. The building serves as a multi-mode transportation facility accessed by Amtrak trains, taxis, and HARTline buses. Amtrak’s AutoTrain offers daily service to passengers and vehicles traveling between Washington, D.C., and Orlando, and a major highway delivers drivers directly to Tampa in just over an hour’s time. It also provides Amtrak Thruway Motorcoach services to Orlando, Lakeland, Pinellas Park, St. Petersburg, Bradenton, Sarasota, Port Charlotte, and Fort Myers. The site’s proximity to the waterfront also allows for convenient service to the cruise ship terminals.
(U//FOUO) Al-Qa’ida and its affiliates have attacked U.S. and Western maritime interests overseas (the USS Cole in 2000 and the MV Limburg in 2002). According to a January 2008 joint U.S. Coast Guard-DHS National Maritime Terrorism Threat Assessment, al-Qa’ida-inspired extremists continue to strongly desire to attack Western maritime targets. The assessment further noted that smaller boats, possibly dispatched by suicide operatives, would likely be used by al-Qa’ida to maximize casualties on vessels such as ferries and cruise ships.9
(U) Tampa Sea Ports
(U) The Port of Tampa is Florida’s largest port and is also the largest economic engine in west central Florida. Tampa handles approximately 50 million tons of cargo per year. It is home to a diverse traffic base that moves through an extensive array of terminal facilities that encompass container, bulk, break bulk, and project cargoes, and has 1 million square feet of warehousing and cold storage facilities. Its strategic location provides the most direct route from Florida to Mexico, Latin America, and the Caribbean, and the region’s rapidly expanding load center hubs provide services worldwide. With a main shipping channel depth of 43 feet, the Port of Tampa is also the closest full service U.S. port to the Panama Canal.10
(U//FOUO) The port of Tampa cruise ship terminals host the Carnival, Celebrity, Holland America, and Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines. Terrorists have threatened cruise ships in the past.
(U//FOUO) Al-Qa’ida has repeatedly shown an interest in targeting bridges in the United States and overseas. A successful attack against a critical bridge could cause multiple casualties as well as economic and emotional damage.
• (U//FOUO) 2007: Terrorists demonstrated the capability and intent to attack bridges, including highway bridges, when al-Qa’ida in Iraq conducted numerous bridge bombings throughout Iraq with conventional explosives, vehicle-borne improvised explosives, and suicide bombers.
• (U//FOUO) 1993: The FBI disrupted the al-Qa’ida “Day of Terror” plot, in which militants were planning to blow up landmarks in New York City, including the Lincoln and Holland tunnels, and the George Washington Bridge.
(U) Tampa Bridges
(U) Three motor vehicle bridges cross Tampa Bay to Pinellas County: the Howard Frankland Bridge (I-275), the Courtney Campbell Causeway (SR-60), and the Gandy Bridge (US 92).
• (U) The Howard Frankland Bridge carries I-275 over the northern portion of Tampa Bay. More than 60,000 vehicles per day cross between Pinellas and Hillsborough counties via the bridge. It is by far the most traveled of the three bridges.
(U) Howard Frankland Bridge
• (U) The Courtney Campbell Causeway is the northernmost bridge across Old Tampa Bay and carries State Road 60 between Clearwater and Tampa.
• The Gandy Bridge spans Tampa Bay from St. Petersburg to Tampa.
(U//FOUO) At this time, TSA-OI has received no current or credible information to indicate terrorists or extremists are planning to target transportation sectors in or around the Tampa Bay area during Super Bowl XLIII or the pre-Super Bowl events. Many spectators will likely travel to the venue via privately-owned vehicles or other forms of chartered transportation since Tampa currently has no Metrorail system and public transit buses will not serve Raymond James Stadium on game day. Because al-Qa’ida and other extremist groups remain interested in causing mass casualties by attacking the Homeland and targeting venues where large crowds gather, such as arenas and stadiums, a strike against a highly publicized event such as Super Bowl XLIII cannot be ruled out.
(U//FOUO) Prepared by the TSA Office of Intelligence, Transportation Analysis Branch. For dissemination questions, contact TSA Production Management, TSA-OI_PM@tsa.dhs.gov.
1 (U) www.thenews.com; The International News; 12 November 2009; “Bomber Kills Four Outside Peshawar Stadium;” (U)
2 (U) Indiana Intelligence Fusion Center Threat Assessment; “(U) Circle City Classic Weekend;” 3-4 October 2008; (U//FOUO)
3 (U) www.eastvalleybune.com; 27 October 2008; “Man in Super Bowl Plot Sentenced to a Year;” (U)
4 (U//FOUO) Joint Threat Assessment—Special Events Working Group; 14 January 2008; “Super Bowl XLII Threat Assessment;” (U//FOUO)
5 (U) www.tampabaysuperbowl.com; Bay Area Airports; “Tampa International Airport; accessed 19 November 2008; (U)
6 (U//FOUO) DHS Assessment; Florida Fusion Center; IA-0032-09; 4 November 2008; “Florida: State Critical Infrastructure Threat Assessment; (U)
7 (U//FOUO) FBI; DTG: 211714Z Aug 07; IIR 4 201 5019 07; “(U//FOUO) Images of Florida Airports Associated with Ahmed Abdellatif Sherif Mohamad and Youssef Samir Megahed; (S//NF)
8 (U) www.tampabaysuperbowl.com; Public Transit; accessed 7 November 2008; (U)
9 (U) Coast Guard Intelligence Estimate; National Maritime Terrorism Threat Assessment; 7 January 2008; CG-HSEC-006-08; (U//FOUO)
10 (U) www.tampaport.com; “(U) Tampa – Florida’s Largest Port;” accessed 18 November 2008; (U)