Fact Check

22 September 2001 Terrorist Attack

Were further terrorist attacks planned for 22 September 2001?

Published Sep 20, 2001


Claim:   Further terrorist attacks were planned for 22 September 2001.

Status:   Undetermined.

Example:   [Collected on the Internet, 2001]

I want to inform everyone to stay home on SATURDAY, SEPT 22.

A friend of mine from college was told that a close family friend, who was at work bartending in Boston, when a few drunk Arab men slipped out to her that there would be a lot of bloodshed in Boston on the 22. She was told this before the terrorist attack on Tuesday, but ever since, she has been with the FBI trying to recognize some cab drivers.

This is not a rumor b/c nobody knows about it and it came from a legit source. I hope it's not true, but just in case I wanted to tell you guys. Just please; do NOT go in the city on the 22, whether day or night. I'd rather be safe to know everybody will be ok, than see this horror happen again, especially to people I know. We all know that some of those bastards are still in Boston.

Please let everyone know to just be careful on that day.

Origins:   This missive began winging its way around the Internet in the week following the attack on America. Some versions attempt to add further credibility to the warning by stating it "came from one of Mandy's friends."

What to make of such a piece? Forget about loose-lipped terrorists blabbing plans in a Boston bar — it's not reasonable to believe an organization that was capable of maintaining the level of secrecy it did is populated by operatives who in the process of tying one on would regale the waitress with their


Some find another reason for disbelieving the piece — alcohol is forbidden to Muslims, thus there could be no drunken Islamic fundamentalists, in a Boston bar or elsewhere. Yet such reasoning ignores the Muslims who have gotten good and roaring drunk while on sojourns in the West. "They'll never find out about this back home" has, for some, proved an effective counter to "this is forbidden."

One of the terrorists who took control of American Airlines Flight 11 (the first plane to hit the World Trade Center towers) was seen drinking Stoli and orange juice in a Florida bar in the months leading up to the attacks. His companion (another of the terrorists) was drinking Captain Morgan's spiced rum and Coke. Others recall the terrorists ordering wine with dinner. (There are also reports of them enjoying the favors of naked lap dancers, so violating the prohibition against alcohol wasn't the only break with Islam.)

Yet even if the e-mail is a fabrication, there are a number of rumors circulating that posit September 22 as a possible date for a further wave of terrorism. Our "bar girl" story is likely a fictionalization of those rumors, an attempt to place disquieting snippets emerging from the various news accounts of the hunt for the terrorists into a more concrete form by presenting them in the context of a story involving an overheard conversation.

It's true there have been a number of rumors about a possible second wave of terrorist attacks on the U.S.A. that might take place over the September 22 weekend, but investigators who have been looking into the matter state they have not uncovered evidence of such plots. Yet that date has appeared at many points in the investigation, and authorities are taking the matter seriously.

One such tie emerged on Wednesday, 19 September. At least four people being sought in the terror investigation, including one now in custody, were booked on one or more flights on the 22nd leaving San Antonio. Some were headed to Denver; others were continuing to California.

Regarding the 22nd, Justice Department spokeswoman Mindy Tucker was quoted by The Dallas Morning News on Wednesday, 19 September as saying, "We have taken a serious look at that information, and at this point we do not know of a credible threat," she said.

Okay, so there are rumors about the 22nd, but the Justice Department says they're being investigated and nothing so far has turned up. Does that mean the U.S.A. is safe?

No, not at all. Possibly even more frightening than the possibility of a concentrated wave of attacks on a specified day is the reality that Attorney General John Ashcroft has expounded upon time and again: Ashcroft and others in law enforcement have repeatedly cautioned that the threat of violence has not ended and that people connected to the terrorist network responsible for the attack on America may still be in the country. Further acts of terrorism are thus possible, perhaps even likely.

Makes having to hide under your bed for just the one day look infinitely preferrable, doesn't it?

Barbara "to heller and back" Mikkelson

Last updated:   15 April 2008

  Sources Sources:

    Davies, Dani.   "Terrorism Suspects in Florida Fit Right In."

    The Palm Beach Post.   18 September 2001   (p. A1).

    Mittelstadt, Michelle.   "Officials Say There Is No Credible Sept. 22 Threat."

    The Dallas Morning News.   20 September 2001.

    Reza, H.G., Evan Halper, Lisa, Getter.   "America Attacked: Nation Mobilizes."

    Los Angeles Times.   15 September 2001   (p. A1).

    The Associated Press.   "Middle Eastern Men Jailed in Texas Not on FBI's Watch List."

    20 September 2001.

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