Home News Stories 2007 December Submitting Tips Online

Submitting Tips Online

Submitting Tips Online
A Life-Saving Story

12/21/07

FBI Tips and Public Leads webpage
Please submit tips on crime and
terrorism via our dedicated webpage.

In the early morning hours of this past September 11, an Arizona man logged into our website, went to our electronic tips page, and reported what he had just seen on the Internet. And we are so glad he did.

Turns out, he’d come across a plot by several high school students in a central Texas town called Pflugerville to mark the 9/11 anniversary in a deadly way—by setting off pipe bombs at the school, then attacking students with high caliber firearms. The students bragged of their plan by posting photographs of themselves and their pipe bombs on the web.

Our counterterrorism experts monitor our public tips page around the clock, so they were on it immediately. Time was of the essence; we had to stop this plot before the school day began in just a few short hours. They checked out the student website, but a vital piece of information—the photographs of the attackers—had already been removed. Time was running out.

The next step was to notify our local field office in San Antonio and the Pflugerville Police Department of the threat. Then, at about 2 a.m., our agents called the tipster to see if he could provide any additional information.

It was at this point that he delivered in an even more remarkable and important way. The tipster had saved on his computer the only immediately available photograph of one of the attack planners, which he quickly e-mailed to us.

That photograph paid off. It enabled the Pflugerville Police Department, the Pflugerville Independent School District, and our local field office to identify the student in the photograph and arrest him and his co-conspirators without incident before the school day started. Whew!

Lives were likely saved and a terrible tragedy prevented—all because one man took the time, in the wee hours of the morning, to let us know about an impending attack. For his efforts, he was recently presented with a special commendation from the FBI Director.

“This tipster is a hero, plain and simple,” said the special agent who heads the unit in our Counterterrorism Division that runs the web tip line. “We receive about 25,000 tips and leads like his every month, and we take them all seriously. You just never know when they might solve a case or save a life.”

You can help, too. If you have any information about a crime or an act of terrorism that has happened or may happen, please go straightaway to our tip line and give us the facts. You, too, can play an important role in keeping communities and our nation safe.