While Sunday’s Super Bowl in Detroit will be the largest security operation for any event in history, some Homeland Security and U.S. Customs officers are being diverted from protecting the spectacle from terrorists to busting individuals suspected of selling counterfeit NFL memorabilia.

At last year’s game in Jacksonville, Fla., agents seized some 21,000 pieces of counterfeit NFL merchandise worth $5 million.

On Monday, according to a report in the Detroit News, customs agents arrested a 42-year-old U.S. citizen as he tried to enter Detroit from Windsor, Ontario, said Capt. Ron Smith, spokesman for the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol. The driver said he was from New York, and his car was loaded with boxes containing 432 phony Super Bowl shirts valued at $1,200, Smith said.

But some terrorism experts are wondering how and why the Department of Homeland Security could possibly be involved in confiscating T-shirts when the nation – and especially high-profile events like the Super Bowl – remain potential targets of terrorism.

Some security experts point out that Detroit is the U.S. city with the highest population of Muslims – some 400,000 total. Included within that community is a small minority of radicalized supporters of al-Qaida and other terrorist organizations. The proximity of the city to the Canadian border has also raised concerns.

Some international terror analysts and intelligence sources told Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin this week they see a high likelihood of a major terrorist attack next Sunday.

The warning is made on the basis of several factors:

  • There is increased “chatter” in the terrorist world about a major new attack in the West – a sign often leading to an impending strike;

  • The date Feb. 5 has been specifically referenced in some of this chatter;

  • The date is significant to Osama bin Laden;

  • Much of the Western world will be watching television that day.

The release of al-Qaida videotapes seems to provide clues about the dates of future attacks and, in this scenario, Feb. 5 becomes the most likely near-term terror strike date.

Terror attacks seem to follow the release of al-Qaida videos by about 30 days. Some intelligence analysts are noting the significance of the release of videos recently by both Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri.

Zawahiri released a video Jan. 6, making Feb. 5 the most likely target date, according to past attacks. Some analysts suggest the release of communiqu?s by both al-Zawahiri and bin Laden might be the precursor to a mega-attack – something even rivaling Sept. 11 in scope and devastation.

There does seem to be an unmistakable pattern involved in the release of videos and al-Qaida attacks.

Zawahiri, bin Laden’s right-hand man, who narrowly escaped death in the Pakistani missile attack weeks ago, seems to release videos in pairs. After the release of the second video, within 30 days a major event occurs.

For instance:

  • Release dates of Sept. 9 and Nov. 9, 2004, were the first set of videos, followed by the Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, bombings Dec. 6.

  • Release dates of Feb. 20 and June 26, 2005, were followed by the July 7, 2005, London bombings.

  • Release dates of Aug. 4 and Sept. 1, 2005, were followed by the Bali bombings Oct. 1, 2005.

  • The next set started Oct. 23, 2005, and on Jan. 6, the second video followed.

That, suggests some analysts, makes Feb. 5 a likely target date. Interestingly, it is also a significant date to bin Laden. Feb. 5, 1989, was the day the last Soviet troops withdrew from Kabul, Afghanistan, signaling their defeat at the hand of the mujahedeen. Kabul was the capital of Osama’s adopted country and was a major win for him and Islam. Significantly, perhaps, in bin Laden’s audio release he referenced the U.S. withdrawing from Iraq and Afghanistan.

It also happens to be Super Bowl Sunday, when the eyes of the entire world will be watching America.

Authorities in Detroit, where the Super Bowl will be played, are certainly taking the threat of terrorism seriously. According to the FBI and Detroit police, the game will be the focal point of one of the largest security operations in U.S. history, guarding against any threats to Super Bowl XL and aided by more than 50 federal, state and local law enforcement agencies.

Including private security guards, there will be about 10,000 security personnel on duty, more than for any other one-day event in U.S. history. Radiation detectors will be stationed near the stadium. SWAT teams, bomb removal personnel and other specialized law enforcement officials will be on hand.

Despite the recent taped messages, authorities say there are “no credible threats against the Super Bowl.”

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