U.S. homeland security and law enforcement agencies' ability to prevent another terrorist attack is being jeopardized by numerous terrorism-related hoaxes that occur on a near-daily basis. These hoaxes force agencies to divert crucial resources, money, and manpower when responding to the hoaxes, distracting agencies from pursuing real terrorism leads.

These false tips and hoaxes include the infamous October 2006 "dirty bomb" threat against seven NFL stadiums, which "caused a massive mobilization of every resource you can think of" and resulted in an untold dollar-amount-loss in terms of manpower and resources, said one law enforcement official.

Many officials believed that the football stadium threat was an absurd hoax, but law enforcement takes no chances when these threats arise, and has no choice but to respond.

"We're on the front lines of keeping this country safe, and when you're distracted by these false threats, it goes right to the heart of our ability to protect the country," says Dan Dzwilewski, chief of the San Diego FBI office.

Law enforcement officials are calling for more stringent penalties for the perpetrators of these hoaxes.
Abstracted by the National Law Enforcement and Corrections Technology Center (NLECTC) from USA Today (01/19/07); P. 3A; Hall, Mimi.