The NFL's layers of security at Super Bowl XLVIII proved vulnerable to an expired festival pass and some social engineering. During MVP Malcolm Smith's postgame appearance, independent journalist and conspiracy theorist Matthew Mills rushed the stage and grabbed the microphone, exhorting viewers to investigate the truth about 9/11. Mills wasn't just hijacking a press conference, though: he had infiltrated a stadium that law enforcement hoped would be all but impenetrable. Before the event, police and the FBI had set up multiple layers of security in an attempt to identify potential terrorists, mixing plainclothes agents into the crowd and setting up hundreds of temporary security cameras in Midtown Manhattan to catch suspicious activity at Super Bowl events.
Mills tells NJ.com that he initially wasn't even looking to slip into into the stadium itself, just to get close enough to conduct fan interviews. Then, however, he saw a bus meant to ferry staff to the Super Bowl. He then apparently boarded the bus using an old badge from a festival, keeping security from looking too closely by telling them he was late and needed to get in quickly. Finally, he found himself at the media tent where Smith was being interviewed. "I just saw my opportunity to get my word out there and I took it," he says. His on-air message warned that 9/11 was "perpetrated by people within our own government." We Are Change, an independent media group whose issues include the supposed 9/11 cover-up, describes Mills as a former intern.
NJ.com reports that Mills was arrested and charged with trespassing, but was released a couple of hours after crashing the stage. Mills, for his part, says he's "dumbfounded" by how far he got. But for all the Super Bowl's security, its sheer size makes it difficult to police effectively. Last year, two Savannah State University students taped themselves sneaking into the Super Bowl, attributing their success partly to the distraction of Beyonce's halftime performance.