FBI: Threat of Y2K extremists real

Millennium fears focus of warning to law enforcement

AP, October 31, 1999
By Joel Greenberg

WASHINGTON, Oct. 31, 1999 - An FBI report prepared for the nation's law enforcement officials says the threat of violence by extremists to mark the new millennium is "very real," The Washington Post reported.

The Bureau Said in a written statement on Oct. 20 that it was preparing the report, entitled Project Megiddo, and would share it with police chiefs at their upcoming convention.

The agency said the document 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 Post reported in Sunday's editions that it had obtained a copy of the report, which FBI officials have said might eventually be made public.

The first official audience is to be a closed-door meeting of the International Association of Chiefs of Police in Charlotte, N.C., on Wednesday.

"The threat posed by extremists as a result of perceived events associated with the Year 2000 is very real," the Post quoted the report as saying. "The volatile mix of apocalyptic religious and (New World Order) conspiracy theories may produce violent acts aimed at precipitating the end of the world as prophesied in the Bible."

Concern In Jerusalem

The Post said that while most of the report focuses on domestic threats, one portion is devoted to Jerusalem, where the FBI says an influx of tourists making pilgrimages and millennial cults will add to the danger.

"Israeli officials are extremely concerned that the Temple Mount, an area already seething with tension and distrust among Muslims and Jews, will be the stage for violent encounters between religious zealots," the Post quoted the study as saying. "Additionally, several religious cults have already made inroads into Israel, apparently in preparation for what they believe to be the endtimes."

The research report is named Megiddo 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 said earlier it would examine ideologies "which advocate or call for violent action beginning in the year 2000."

"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 in its earlier statement.

Possible Indicators

The report also outlines indicators of potential violence, possible preparations for violence and possible targets of millennial extremists.

"Our concern is with fringe, hate or apocalyptic groups or lone wolf members of them who may pose a threat," FBI spokesman Bill Carter said. "We're not focusing on militias."

Citing the report, the Post said agents have discovered that in preparation for the new millennium, certain individuals have been acquiring weapons, storing food and clothing, raising funds, procuring safe houses, preparing compounds, surveying potential targets and recruiting converts to their cause.

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