By now, Americans have gotten pretty used to overhyped terror threats out of Washington. But now we have another layer of hype to contend with. There's been a frenzy this afternoon over a report that a threat was posted on the Internet regarding several coordinated "dirty bomb" attacks on NFL stadiums, supposedly set to happen this weekend.
What very few seem to be noting, however, is that the "threat" was posted not to one of many Islamist militant Web sites but to an American humor site, the Friend Society. That fact seems rather pertinent -- but the Associated Press has buried it at the end of the long version of its report. Moreover, as of this post, a search of Google News revealed only 36 media outlets carrying the long version. Other sites, like the virulently anti-Islamist blog Little Green Footballs, where proprietor Charles Johnson admitted the threat was "probably bogus," were actually reporting that the threat came from an Islamist Web site.
The Friend Society Web site -- which sometimes also uses "Thefucksociety.com" as a URL -- appears to be down. The post about the terror threat, which was reportedly made on Oct. 12 by a Friend Society user named "javness," seems to have vanished from the Internet altogether -- though Google caches of the site remain available. The thread itself has been cached; called "New Attack on America, Be Afraid," it stretches to three pages, available here, here and here.
Other threads under discussion on the Friend Society at the time included "stretchy vagina debate," "PEYOTE" and "MLB Playoffs." Javness, the user who allegedly put up the post in question after recently joining the site, was also participating in another thread concerned with matters of warfare -- it was called "Optimus Prime's First Line Could Be Your Own!"
The Department of Homeland Security seems to have a handle on this one. In response to a request for comment, DHS spokesman Jarrod Agen e-mailed Salon a press release (which included the full "New Attack on America" post) from the Open Source Center, a group in the Directorate of National Intelligence. The press release notes that the Friend Society "contains none of the hallmarks of jihadist websites." It also points to comments that accompanied the original post: Responding to other users who had challenged "javness" to provide some sort of proof of the terror plot, "javness" quipped back, "you already know too much."