Mall of America Named as Potential Terror Target

by Harry Sheff

Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson went on CNN yesterday to warn of a potential terrorist threat to the Mall of America in Minneapolis. The threat came via video from the Somalia-based al-Shabab and mentioned the Mall specifically.

“I would say that, if anyone is planning to go to the Mall of America today, they have got to be particularly careful,” Johnson told CNN’s Gloria Borger yesterday.

The statement from the Mall of America said, “Mall of America is aware of a threatening video that was released which included a mention and images of the mall. We take any potential threat seriously and respond appropriately. We have implemented extra security precautions. Some may be noticeable to guests, and others won’t.”

The chief of police in Bloomington, the Minneapolis suburb where the mall is located, released his own statement later in the day saying, “At this time, there is no credible threat associated with Mall of America.” Local law enforcement is working with the FBI and Mall security.

The threat is being taken seriously in part because the Twin Cities have the largest Somalian population in the U.S. and al-Shabab has recruited young men from the community for its terrorist operations in Somalia.

Skeptics, however, may note the timing of the Homeland Security Secretary’s warning comes as the agency is just days away from another partial shutdown as Congress bickers over funding.

The 4.2 million sq. ft. Mall of America, which is operated by Edmonton, Alberta-based conglomerate Triple Five, is the largest mall in the country and boasts annual traffic of about 40 million people.