Now This Log

Thursday, 11 October 2001 : "More debunking"

Time for some more debunking.

An e-mail's going around warning against being in a mall on Halloween. It tries to gain credibility by stating that the source of the warning also knew in advance of the September 11 attacks. There are numerous problems with this scenario's plausibility, and the FBI has stated that there is no truth to it.


This story fits neatly into the genre of a number of similar rumors about helped terrorists or compassionate Arabs who are moved to offer specific warnings about upcoming attacks, and thus should most likely be dismissed as just more of the same. ... Such snippets of lore swing on the belief that those who have foreknowledge of destruction to come would jeopardize the outcome of those events by warning others. Terrorists may very well form friendships among the folk they've temporarily taken on the coloration of, but friendship stops at the line where it might interfere with operations. To think otherwise is to surrender to a form of naïveté that can only be characterized as appallingly wishful thinking.

WTOP (DC-area news station):
The FBI has checked out this e-mail and determined that it is indeed a hoax. ... The urban legend about an attack at a mall on Halloween has been around for years ... Investigators suggest if you get this e-mail, delete it.

Found through Google:
1. The story is a typical urban legend type story from a FOAF (Friend Of A Friend) and these tend to turn out to be old stories that are recycled  (and sometimes updated to fit new concerns) and have little or no basis in fact.

2. If this woman was going 'steady' with this chap then surely he would be aware of any travel plans she had? So, no need for the warning about air travel on the 11th.  Unless this is just a way to add to the shock factor of the story? Many similar 'Warning' urban legends exist that this technique is used in, to great effect, but that does not make the tale true, just more spooky.

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