The realm of possible threats to Super Bowl 50 next month is wide and diverse, though not particularly new, according to federal officials.
As they often do before such high-profile events, the Department of Homeland Security and FBI last week issued a “joint special event threat assessment” to state and local authorities in and around Santa Clara, California, where the NFL’s biggest game is being held Feb. 7 at Levi’s Stadium.
In laying out the possibilities, the assessment pointed to a series of attacks on fiber-optic cables that continued into last year, and noted potential threats and criminal uses of commercial drones. It also cited recent attacks by so-called “lone wolf” terrorists inspired by ISIS or other groups, according to federal law enforcement officials familiar with the assessment.
“It’s an overview of threats that can be possibly posed,” but it does not offer any new information, one federal official said.
The assessment notes that “the FBI and DHS have no information to indicate any specific, credible threats to or associated with Super Bowl 50 or related events,” according to WRC-TV in Washington, D.C., which first reported on the assessment.
A second federal official told ABC News that the Department of Homeland Security and FBI authored the assessment because Santa Clara doesn’t often host events as big as the Super Bowl, so federal authorities want to make sure their state and local partners are aware of and prepared for anything.
Levi’s Stadium is home to the NFL’s 49ers and about 40 miles from San Francisco.
The official noted that if authorities believed there were credible threats to the Super Bowl, the information would now be widely distributed via the National Terrorism Advisory System, which DHS recently revamped. Such a move, however, has not happened yet.