Friday December 5th, 2014

Homeland Security investigated several security concerns prior to the blackout that happened after halftime of Super Bowl XLVII in February 2013, according to a report from NBC4 Washington.

In the hours before the Ravens beat 49ers, at least one police officer was sent to a pay phone in Baltimore after an anonymous caller said the Superdome was going to "blow up" after Beyonce's performance at halftime, the report says.

Later that night, at least one officer was also dispatched by the Baltimore Field Office of the FBI to check a public pay phone outside the Baltimore city limits. At 6:55 p.m., someone had used the phone to call in a threat to the Superdome, which is officially known as the Mercedes-Benz Louisiana Superdome. “The Mercedes-Benz Building in New Orleans is going to blow up. It’s gonna blow up after Beyonce’s performance,” the caller said, according to federal incident reports obtained by I-Team. The caller was anonymous, though he told the law enforcement officer who answered his call that he was from Baltimore. And he specified that he knew of the bomb threat, because his brother had “dealings” with “Hebrew Israelites.”

The report says that someone called a New Orleans police officer about five hours before kickoff with knowledge of “systematically placed explosive devices” inside a popular bar in the New Orleans' French Quarter.

City police officers responded and “cleared the scene,” according to an internal emails exchange by federal officials. The officers determined there was no bomb.

Another concern stemmed from burglars stealing a 40-caliber semiautomatic rifle and other police gear from the trunk of an unmarked police car in a cul-de-sac about 15 minutes away from the Superdome, according to the report.

The three burglars struck about 12 hours before kickoff. They pried open the trunk. They found and took more than a dozen pieces of sensitive police equipment, including a 40-caliber semiautomatic gun, a Taser gun, swat team gear, handcuffs, a tactical vest, a gas mask, dozens of bullets and magazines with dozens of rounds.

The report indicates that there was an investigation into a bomb threat close to the field less than two hours before the game and that, after the outage, federal investigators were looking into postings on social media.

One email sent at 9:54 p.m. states, "Digital Sandbox, at the New Orleans EOC, has discovered 'Twitter' postings referring to 'power outages' at the venue were posted early today. All related suspicious traffic and information has been forwarded to the FBI representative at the New Orleans EOC. 

A security expert told NBC4 that "These types of threats are consistent with high-profile events."

Less than a week after the Super Bowl, The New York Times reported that the blackout, which lasted 34 minutes, happened because of a device that had been implemented to forestall a potential power outage.

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