FBI, DHS Warn of Anarchist Extremists at Upcoming Political Conventions

The Tampa Bay Times Forum shown Thursday, Aug. 16, 2012, in Tampa, Fla., is the site of the 2012 Republican National Convention. The 2012 Republican National Convention will be held in Tampa, Florida the week of August 27. (Credit: AP)

The FBI along with the Department of Homeland Security are warning law enforcement agencies across the U.S. to be prepared for plots by “extremists” to disrupt the upcoming political conventions, including using what officials described as acid-filled eggs, Fox News reports.

A joint FBI-DHS bulletin issued Wednesday also warned that protesters may try to cause chaos by blocking roadways, shutting down transit systems and using improvised explosive devices like Molotov cocktails. It almost sounds like they are describing your average Occupy rally, doesn’t it?

The bulletin specifically mentions a group of “anarchists” from New York City who may be planning to invade some of the events and block surrounding bridges.

Anarchists “see both parties as the problem,” so both the Republican and Democratic National Conventions are prime targets for them, a federal law enforcement official told Fox News.

The RNC will begin on Monday in Tampa, Fla., pending a potential hurricane, and the DNC is set to open a week later in Charlotte, N.C.

FBI, DHS Warn of Anarchist Extremists at Upcoming Political Conventions

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“FBI and DHS assess with high confidence anarchist extremists will target similar infrastructure in Tampa and Charlotte, with potentially significant impacts on public safety and transportation,” according to the law enforcement bulletin. “Extremists will likely use secure communication methods and social networking sites, Internet chat rooms, message boards, and mobile devices such as smart phones to coordinate and facilitate violence or criminal activity.”

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The joint bulletin, titled “Potential For Violent or Criminal Action By Anarchist Extremists During The 2012 National Political Conventions,” says anarchist extremists likely don’t have the capability to overcome heightened security measures set up by the conventions themselves. In addition, Tampa Police Chief Jane Castor said Tuesday that fences have been established around “some of the more attractive government targets.”

Instead, extremists could target nearby infrastructure, including businesses and transit systems, according to Wednesday’s bulletin.

The bulletin mentions possible violent tactics anarchist extremists could employ, including the use of molotov cocktails or acid-filled eggs.

In August 2008, federal authorities arrested a man who was planning to use a molotov cocktail during the Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minn. In addition, authorities executed four search warrants and arrested eight others for planning to disrupt the convention, according to a 2010 FBI intelligence assessment posted online.

On Tuesday, Tampa police confiscated bricks and pipes found on a rooftop several blocks away from the site of the Republican convention. Graffiti associated with the anarchist movement was also found. Castor called the discovery “disconcerting but … not surprising.”

The bulletin issued Wednesday notes that in 2008, anarchists discussed trying to shut down roads and skyways in St. Paul.

In addition, the bulletin discusses anarchists’ use of social media to inform each other of law enforcement actions and positions.

Even though activists associated with the Occupy Wall Street movement are planning to converge on both conventions to protest what one OWS group called “this political system that only works for the 1%,” the bulletin issued Wednesday makes no mention of Occupy Wall Street — focusing instead on “extremist” activities.

“We have said all along that the vast majority of individuals coming to the Tampa Bay area to demonstrate will do so peacefully but there is no doubt that there is a small percentage that will come bent on destruction and disruption, and those are the individuals that we will deal with very quickly,” Castor told reporters Tuesday.

Both conventions have been designated a “National Special Security Event” by the U.S. Secret Service, which means they will lead the security detail at the events in coordination with federal, state and local law enforcement.

The Tampa Police department has actually asked for help from other police departments around the state to help cover the massive security needed for the Republican convention. Congress has allotted agencies $50 million for security costs at the Tampa and Charlotte conventions.

“Anarchist extremism,” as the FBI calls it, is nothing new and the agency has warned of such extremists during global summits and other larger events in the U.S.

However, there is “no credible threat” related to international terrorism, a federal law enforcement official told Fox News, but added that these types of big events are “attractive targets” for terrorists.