Anti-government groups at College labeled as threat

A recent report compiled by the Virginia Fusion Center, a division of the Virginia State Police, has raised concerns about the possibility of domestic terrorist activity at the College of William and Mary.

The 2009 Virginia Terrorism Threat Assessment was assembled to identify potential terrorism threats affecting the Commonwealth of Virginia. The report lists radical Islamic militant groups, anarchists and race-based groups considered dangerous to the state.

According to the report, recent activity by anti-government extremists has been reported in the City of Williamsburg and at the College. The report also mentions suspected activity from the radical anti-abortion group “Army of God,” including a bomb threat made against the College last August.

The contents of the report were first leaked by The Virginian-Pilot over the weekend. The full report has since become available through certain public interest groups online.

College spokesman Brian Whitson said the administration was shocked by the College’s inclusion in the threat assessment.

“We don’t have any idea why we’re included,” Whitson said. “There’s no reason to lead them to reach that conclusion.”

Potential terrorist targets listed in the assessment include the grand opening of the Monticello Visitor’s Center and the annual Grand Illumination in Colonial Williamsburg.

The report mentions the College, Virginia Military Institute and James Madison University as potential threats and targets.

“We were surprised to see us mentioned,” Whitson said. “The fact that they mention both William and Mary and VMI seems odd and puzzling.”

Whitson said administrators first learned of the College’s inclusion in the assessment through The Virginian-Pilot article.

The administration has not yet seen the report and does not know the criteria used to make the assessment.

“We were not aware of the report until the Pilot story,” Whitson said. “There appears to be no reason or methodology behind the report.”

Whitson said there was no justification to why the College would face a potential terrorist threat.

“We’re not aware of any issue that would warrant our inclusion in the report,” Whitson said. “William and Mary is proud of its diverse student body that wants to learn about the world.”


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