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Intelligence officials find no credible threats for Super Bowl XLIII

WASHINGTON -- U.S. intelligence officials have found no credible threat of terrorist attacks at Super Bowl XLIII scheduled Feb. 1 in Tampa, Fla., but they are nevertheless raising security concerns.

A joint FBI and Homeland Security intelligence assessment obtained by The Associated Press on Wednesday cautions that Raymond James Stadium, the Super Bowl site, does not have the typical security features of permanently secure buildings and arenas.

The report, dated Tuesday, says possible attackers could be deterred by the posting of hundreds of visible security officials, barriers and other measures.

Officials are also concerned that terrorists or criminals could impersonate government or military officials because some Florida law enforcement badges and uniforms were stolen in 2008. The report says there is no credible information about impersonation plots.

The Super Bowl is one of the biggest television events of the year, and more than 100 million people in 232 countries are expected to watch, the assessment said.

Because of the high profile nature of the event, intelligence officials say they cannot discount the potential for a terrorist attack.

Terrorists are expected to continue to see stadiums and arenas as potential targets, according to a March 2008 intelligence assessment.

"Al-Qaida could meet its objectives of mass casualties, economic damage, and psychological impact with an attack against a stadium or arena during an event in the United States," the 2008 assessment said.

In November, a suicide bomber blew himself up near a stadium in Peshawar, Pakistan, which killed four people and injured 11, according to U.S. intelligence officials. This happened during the closing ceremony of the Inter-Provencial Games.

The Federal Aviation Administration plans to issue a temporary flight restriction in the area around the stadium on Feb 1. The threat assessment says the regional bus system will not provide public transit to the stadium on game day.

In addition, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is training local Florida bomb-sniffing dogs in preparation for the event.

The Super Bowl threat assessment is based on information from the FBI, Homeland Security Department, National Counterterrorism Center, United States Northern Command, National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency and the Florida state intelligence fusion center.

Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press

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