Baltimore City

Federal authorities warn of possible Fourth of July terrorism, but no 'credible and specific' threat

Federal authorities are warning local law enforcement officials to be on guard against domestic terrorists during Fourth of July celebrations, but the FBI says it has not identified any specific threat.

The authorities, including the FBI, Department of Homeland Security and National Counterterrorism Center, “remain concerned that [they] could target upcoming Independence Day celebrations, gatherings, or parades, though we are unaware of any current plots specifically targeting such events,” said a bulletin obtained by ABC News. “We note that attacks can occur with little to no warning because of the frequently lower levels of security around civilian targets, challenges in securing large crowds, and calls for attacks against soft targets.”


Baltimore Police spokesman Matt Jablow said he was not aware of any advisory from federal authorities warning of an increased terrorism threat during the Fourth of July holiday weekend.

Such warnings are not uncommon around holiday periods in which there are large crowds and heavy travel. The FBI said in a statement to the Baltimore Sun that it “currently has no credible and specific information to indicate attacks are being planned against July 4th events.”


The bureau said it “regularly assesses intelligence regarding possible threats to the U.S. and will continue to work closely with our federal, state, and local law enforcement partners should there be any potential threat to public safety.” It asked members of the public to remain vigilant.

ABC said the bulletin noted the case of James Fields, who was sentenced last week to life in prison after pleading to federal charges, including a hate crime. Fields drove his car into a crowd of demonstrators, killing one, during a “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Va., in 2017.

With crowds expected at the Inner Harbor, the Baltimore City Department of Transportation said it is putting commercial vehicle restrictions in place beginning at noon on Thursday. That means commercial vehicles, including tanker trailers, won’t be permitted in the downtown and Inner Harbor until midnight. Cabs and buses are excluded .

The city is encouraging people to use public transportation including mass transit, Light Rail and the Charm City Circulator.

Baltimore Sun reporter Colin Campbell contributed to this article.