Phoenix police, FBI launch campaign to prevent potential bombings ahead of Super Bowl

Operation Flashpoint is a new federal, state, and local initiative to prevent bombings.
Published: Nov. 3, 2022 at 4:48 PM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) — “Just this year in Arizona, threats were made to schools, congressional offices, businesses, and houses of worship,” says Andrew Seiffert, an Infrastructure Security Agent with the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency.

Operation Flashpoint is a new federal, state, and local initiative to prevent bombings. Specifically, the use of improvised explosive devices or IEDs — otherwise known as a homemade bomb.

“Using common commercial and household chemicals, these explosives are real, and they can cause serious injury or death–just like any military explosive,” says Phillip Bates, an Assistant FBI Agent in Arizona. These household items range from seemingly innocent items like nail polish remover, drain cleaner, or bleach. Bad actors will typically purchase them in suspiciously high quantities.

“If you see your neighbor getting pool supplies delivered to their house and they don’t have a pool or have a pool business, that may be an indicator that you may need to report it,” says Chuck Leas of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency. He adds that people regularly give themselves away based on bizarre behavior and not being able to answer simple questions.

“That’s their right to be aloof, but it may need to be a consideration. There are normal shopping behaviors. When people go outside of those, that’s an indicator,” Leas says. Along with shoppers, they’re calling on store owners and employees to keep watch. “They are truly the eyes and ears who know their product, know their customers and are best positioned to identify suspicious behavior and report it to authorities,” says Seiffert.

With the super bowl and Waste Management Open on the horizon, they also want people to consider previous tragedies, like the Boston Marathon bombing and the Nashville Christmas bombing. The most important takeaway is if you see something, say something. Whether you’re a store employee or a fellow shopper, it’s the easiest way to protect your neighbors.