By MICHAEL J. SNIFFEN
WASHINGTON - The FBI plans to warn state and local police to be alert for possible attacks at the turn of the millennium by hate or apocalyptic groups or lone wolf members of them.
"There are no specific threats, but we often alert law enforcement agencies about impending dates with significance for potential terrorists," FBI spokesman Bill Carter said Wednesday.
Each year, for instance, the FBI reminds state and local law enforcement of the April 19 anniversary of the 1995 bombing of an Oklahoma City federal building and the 1993 federal assault on the Branch Davidian sect outside Waco, Texas.
The bureau intends to distribute a 40-page research report, entitled Project Megiddo, named after an ancient battleground in Israel cited in the Bible's New Testament as the site of a millennial battle between forces of good and evil.
The FBI report analyzes "the potential for extremist criminal activity in the United States by individuals or domestic groups who attach special significance to the year 2000," the bureau said in a written statement. "The significance is based primarily upon apocalyptic religious beliefs or political beliefs concerning the New World Order conspiracy theory."
You have free articles remaining.
"Such ideologies motivate violent white supremacists who seek to initiate a race war; apocalyptic cults which anticipate a violent Armageddon; radical elements of private citizen militias who fear that the United Nations will initiate an armed takeover of the United States and subsequently establish a One World Government, and other groups or individuals which promote violent millennial agendas," the FBI said.
"Our concern is with fringe, hate or apocalyptic groups or lone wolf members of them who may pose a threat," Carter said. "We're not focusing on militias."
In fact, ever since the Oklahoma City bombing, the FBI has asked its 56 field offices to meet with militia groups in their regions periodically to foster better communication and explain that the FBI is not targeting "the majority of militia members (who) engage in law abiding activities," the bureau statement said.
The FBI said some militias "have taken positive steps toward ridding themselves of violent extremist elements."
"More mainstream militia groups have been helpful in identifying the more extremist elements of the militia who may resort to acts of violence," the bureau said.
Indeed, some militia figures have been brought in to help the FBI negotiate with the Freemen group under siege in Montana and to help try to locate accused Olympic bomber Eric Rudolph.
The lone wolf threat was exemplified by Buford Furrow Jr., who surrendered in August to face charges of killing a Filipine-American mail carrier and wounding four children and woman at Jewish community center in California. Furrow has ties to anti-Semitic hate groups in the Pacific Northwest. He was a member of the Aryan Nations; had a relationship with the widow of the founder of The Order; and subscribes to the Christian Identity religious movement, which considers whites a superior race.
FBI officials will distribute copies of the report and discuss it at a meeting of the International Association of Chiefs of Police later this month in Charlotte, N.C. Later, copies will be sent to state and local law enforcement agencies, Carter said. At some point, a version might be made public.