Has the Islamist rage aimed at US embassies abroad started to reach into the heartland of America? Three separate universities report receiving threats this morning, prompting evacuations in Texas, North Dakota, and an investigation in Indiana. Let’s start with the University of Texas, where the threat was explicit about a tie to al-Qaeda:
The University of Texas is evacuating all of its buildings due to threats on campus after a caller claiming to be with al-Qaida said he placed bombs all over campus that would go off around 10 a.m. — which has since passed.
“Immediately evacuate ALL buildings and get as far away as possible,” read a message posted at 9:53 a.m. on the campus’ emergency alert website. “More information to come.”
UT Director of Communications Rhonda Weldon said the university got a call around 8:35 a.m. from a male with a Middle Eastern accent claiming to have placed bombs all over campus.
He said he was with al-Qaida and that these bombs would go off in 90 minutes.
North Dakota State followed shortly thereafter:
Students at North Dakota State University in Fargo and the University of Texas in Austin have been ordered to evacuate their respective campuses this morning because of bomb threats.
There was no indication that the two events were connected.
This alert was posted on NDSU’s website:
“NDSU is requiring all employees and students to leave campus by 10:15 a.m. This includes residence hall students, who, if necessary, should walk to locations off campus. This also includes the downtown buildings and agricultural facilities. NDSU received a bomb threat, prompting this evacuation. Updates will follow.”
At Valparaiso University in Indiana, the threat was left as a graffiti message, but no evacuation was apparently ordered:
The alert, posted early Friday, says “an unspecific threat to campus was made through a graffiti message alluding to dangerous and criminal activity alleged to be carried out during the chapel break period on Friday.
“The broad threat provided no details with respect to location or type. Please be on alert and report any suspicious activity to VUPD immediately by calling 911 or 464-5430.”
VUPD, local authorizes and the FBI investigated the threat and a thorough human and canine search of campus did not find anything suspicious, a later release said.
Fortunately, no attacks have come to pass, at least not yet. These are likely efforts to create a little fear on the cheap, taking advantage of the unrest on the other side of the world. Real AQ attacks don’t usually involve any warnings, certainly not specific warnings that allow civilians to get out of the line of fire. The purpose of AQ attacks is usually to create as many civilian deaths as possible. Of course, this could be a way to test defenses, too, to adapt to American countermeasures, although there wouldn’t be much point of that if no warnings precede attacks.
I’m guessing that these are hoaxes, but that doesn’t mean that the perpetrators should be discounted. The FBI and the courts need to make examples of them, if so.