By Editorial Staff
Published November 16, 1998
High-profile facilities, attractions dot low-profile county, experts warn
Prime terrorist targets in Brevard County
Brevard could be at risk from terrorists because of high profile government, programs and businesses, officials and experts say.
- Disney Cruise Terminal and Magic cruise ship, Port Canaveral.
A terrorist device could be packed in a suitcase and easily smuggled into the terminal or onboard a ship. Because Disney’s newest ship, the Magic, is docked at the port, an attack would generate publicity around the globe.
- Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex.
Thousands of unscreened tourists visit the complex daily. A terrorist could strike at the U.S. government or the space program without having to smuggle a device into KSC’s more secure areas.
- Aware Woman Center for Choice, Melbourne.
The clinic and pro-life protesters have clashed for a decade. Protests at the site have resulted in national media attention and could draw anti-abortion terrorists.
Sources: Brevard County Emergency Management law enforcement agencies and security experts
By Maurice Tamman, FLORIDA TODAY
Inside Bernard’s Surf, Sen. Ted Kennedy, D.- Mass., enjoyed his second helping of stone crab claws. Outside, someone double parked a truck and walked away, leaving the engine running.
On most nights, Cocoa Beach restaurant hostess Betty Lou Griffin might not have noticed it. But this was the night before John Glenn was scheduled to go back into space — and the restaurant was packed with former astronauts, politicians and celebrities.
“We have a lot of dignitaries around here, and we’re careful about what happens inside, but there’s not a lot we can do outside,” said Griffin, who called her boss’s attention to the truck. “We do think about (terrorism) around here.”
Griffin wasn’t overreacting: Law enforcement officers and security experts think there is good reason to worry about terrorism in Brevard County.
At first glance, the area doesn’t look like a prime target. There is no World Trade Center or foreign embassy. Brevard is home to fewer than a half-million people. The crime rate is below the state average, and the median income is higher.
Experts, however, say the county may be a more attractive target than many larger metropolitan areas because of publicity surrounding its high-profile government programs and businesses.
And because of the increased tension with Iraq, the risk of terrorism increases, said law enforcement consultant Bob Bolin, a retired CIA and State Department agent who lives in Satellite Beach.
“Before the Oklahoma City bombing (in 1995), who would have thought a building in Oklahoma would be a target? We are very susceptible,” he said. “We have attractive targets. We have every mode of transportation to get here, with very little security.”
According to Bolin and others the most likely local targets would be:* Disney’s Port Canaveral cruise terminal and the Magic cruise ship; * The Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex; * Aware Woman Center for Choice in Melbourne.
“When we look around, we feel there is a threat,” county Director of Emergency Management Bob Lay said on the first day of a two day terrorism class at Port Canaveral last week.
About 100 local law enforcement officers, emergency rescue workers, firefighters and hospital workers attended the seminar.
It was designed to teach them how to identify the types of weapons that a terrorist could use, including explosive, chemical, biological and nuclear weapons.
“If something happens at the (KSC) visitor center, who would respond?” Lay asked. “If something happened here at the port, who would respond? We need to be ready.”
He pointed toward the Disney Cruise Terminal.
“What’s over there?” Lay asked. “That’s one of the biggest cruise ships in the world, and because it’s owned by Disney, and everything they stand for, I would think they could be a target.”
Bolin said the Magic is particularly vulnerable to a chemical or biological attack.
He said a microscopic amount of anthrax, a deadly bacteria, could be smuggled on board and introduced into the water supply.
In a few hours, most of the ship’s 2,400 passengers would be dead or dying.
To make his point, at last week’s seminar be taped an envelope under a student table and asked the person who found it to open it.
At first, the person didn’t notice a pill but soon found it tucked in a fold.
“That could be anthrax,” he said. “I told them that would be enough anthrax to knock out all of North Brevard.”
And there is little anyone could do to stop such kind of attack.
Security falls short
Most security measures are designed to detect bombs and guns. Port Canaveral security, which is provided by the Canaveral Port Authority, is no exception.
Port Authority spokesman Tim DeClaire said the techniques used to minimize the threat of terrorism are similar to those used at airports.
He refused to elaborate or to acknowledge that Disney would be more of a target than other cruise lines.
“We are well aware of the potential” for a terrorist attack, DeClaire said.
Darlene Papalini, director of communications for the Disney Cruise Line, would not discuss specific details about the ship’s security.
“Security … and the safety of our passengers … is paramount to us,” she said. “We have very tightly controlled access to our ship. We took our experience from 25 years at Walt Disney World and have applied it here.”
Like Disney, the space program has become a symbol of America’s dominance around the world.
Wayne Kee, emergency preparedness officer at the Cape, said that could make it a target.
Most of KSC is relatively safe, he said. The center is surrounded by fences and water, and everyone entering must pass through a series of guarded checkpoints.
The Visitor Complex, however, is a weak link.
Unlike most of the space center and nearby Cape Canaveral Air Station, there are no security checkpoints leading into the complex, although it sits on land owned by KSC.
The kind of stringent security used at KSC would not be possible at the complex, which hosts thousands of visitors daily.
The center was the sixth most popular tourist destination in Central Florida last year.
“You don’t have any control,” Kee said. “We don’t know who is on all those buses (that take tourists into KSC).”
Added Bolin: “Any place where there is a gathering of innocent people is a target. But (an attack at the Visitor Complex) would be pubIicized worldwide because of its connection to the space program.”
Bolin said an attack on the Magic or the Visitor Complex would garner worldwide attention — but a third potential target is at a much higher risk.
“The (Aware Woman clinic) is the primo, primo, primo target,” he said.
He said abortion clinics have become routine targets for terrorists.
Most recently, a New York doctor was assassinated, and eight Midwest abortion clinics received letters containing a powder that the sender claimed was anthrax spores.
The powder in the envelopes was not the bacteria, but one day, the powder will be real, Bolin said.
“A good student can go to the library … and learn how to grow this stuff,” he said.
Locally, the Aware Woman clinic has escaped direct assault but it has been the site of legal and illegal — protests for years some of which have drawn national attention.
Twice this year, the bomb squad was called out to the abortion clinic to investigate reports of suspicious objects.
Both turned out to be nothing.
But a “deranged” person looking to make a statement could find the Melbourne clinic an attractive target, Bolin said.
“They want to make a statement,” Bolin said. “Sometimes they don’t even mind being arrested. They want to say, “Hey look at what I did.”
Clinic owner Patricia Baird Windle said she knows of the risks and keeps herself and her staff educated.
For example, she knew that the recent anthrax threats came in envelopes with a Cincinnati postmark. And any letter from there would be suspect.
“But we knew that because my connection with the Internet not because anyone told us,” she said.
City ready to help
Melbourne police Capt. Ron Bell said the city is ready to help clinic employees any way they want, but often Windle knows as much as his intelligence officers.
He said the city treats the clinic as a high priority, but preventing an attack would be difficult.
“If it’s a group or a nation, we can track that,” Bolin said. “It’s the individuals and the cells of two, three people — the Timothy McVeighs and Terry Nichols.”
How do you track an individual who grows hatred against a government or company?
“You can’t,” he said. “It’s not matter of if it’s going to happen, but when.”
Forerunner - Home » Florida's Murder Industry »
Your comments are welcome!
That Swiss Hermit Strikes Again!
Dr. Schaeffer, who was one of the most influential Christian thinkers in the twentieth century, shows that secular humanism has displaced the Judeo-Christian consensus that once defined our nation’s moral boundaries. Law, education, and medicine have all been reshaped for the worse as a consequence. America’s dominant worldview changed, Schaeffer charges, when Christians weren’t looking.
Schaeffer lists two reasons for evangelical indifference: a false concept of spirituality and fear. He calls on believers to stand against the tyranny and moral chaos that come when humanism reigns-and warns that believers may, at some point, be forced to make the hard choice between obeying God or Caesar. A Christian Manifesto is a thought-provoking and bracing Christian analysis of American culture and the obligation Christians have to engage the culture with the claims of Christ.
$19.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)
High Quality Paperback — 200 pages
A Reasonable Response to Christian Postmodernism
Includes a response to the book Christian Jihad by Colonel V. Doner
The title of this book is a misnomer. In reality, I am not trying to get anyone to shut up, but rather to provoke a discussion. This book is a warning about the philosophy of “Christian postmodernism” and the threat that it poses not only to Christian orthodoxy, but to the peace and prosperity our culture as well. The purpose is to equip the reader with some basic principles that can be used to refute their arguments.
Part 1 is a response to some of the recent writings by Frank Schaeffer, the son of the late Francis Schaeffer. This was originally written as a defense against Frank’s attacks on pro-life street activism – a movement that his father helped bring into being through his books, A Christian Manifesto, How Should We Then Live? and Whatever Happened to the Human Race? These works have impacted literally hundreds of thousands of Christian activists.
Part 2 is a response to Colonel Doner and his book, Christian Jihad: Neo-Fundamentalists and the Polarization of America. Doner was one of the key architects of the Christian Right that emerged in the 1980s, who now represents the disillusionment and defection many Christian activists experienced in the 1990s and 2000s. There is still great hope for America to be reformed according to biblical principles. As a new generation is emerging, it is important to recognize the mistakes that Christian activists have made in the past even while holding to a vision for the future.
$14.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)
Who is the dreaded beast of Revelation?
Now at last, a plausible candidate for this personification of evil incarnate has been identified (or re-identified). Ken Gentry’s insightful analysis of scripture and history is likely to revolutionize your understanding of the book of Revelation — and even more importantly — amplify and energize your entire Christian worldview!
Historical footage and other graphics are used to illustrate the lecture Dr. Gentry presented at the 1999 Ligonier Conference in Orlando, Florida. It is followed by a one-hour question and answer session addressing the key concerns and objections typically raised in response to his position. This presentation also features an introduction that touches on not only the confusion and controversy surrounding this issue — but just why it may well be one of the most significant issues facing the Church today.
Ideal for group meetings, personal Bible study — for anyone who wants to understand the historical context of John’s famous letter “… to the seven churches which are in Asia.” (Revelation 1:4)
Running Time: 145 minutes
$17.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)
Foundations in Biblical Eschatology
By Jay Rogers, Larry Waugh, Rodney Stortz, Joseph Meiring. High quality paperback, 167 pages.
All Christians believe that their great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, will one day return. Although we cannot know the exact time of His return, what exactly did Jesus mean when he spoke of the signs of His coming (Mat. 24)? How are we to interpret the prophecies in Isaiah regarding the time when “the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea” (Isa. 11:19)? Should we expect a time of great tribulation and apostasy or revival and reformation before the Lord returns? Is the devil bound now, and are the saints reigning with Christ? Did you know that there are four hermeneutical approaches to the book of Daniel and Revelation?
These and many more questions are dealt with by four authors as they present the four views on the millennium. Each view is then critiqued by the other three authors.
$12.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)
Special Two-Disc Set!
After 40 years of intense study and world-wide ministry, Dr. Francis Schaeffer completed his crowning work of scholarship – to present profound truths in simple film language. Dr. Schaeffer’s brilliant analysis of the past and predictions for current trends have proven so uncannily accurate that this amazing series still feels contemporary almost three decades after its initial release. Ultimately, Schaeffer concludes that man’s only hope is a return to God’s Biblical absolute, the truth revealed in Christ through the Scriptures.
Available for the first time on DVD, this documentary spectacular also includes intimate in-depth conversations with Francis and Edith Schaeffer. With the on-disc study guide, this presentation forms a unique course of comprehensive study. While this series forms an innovative analysis of the past, this outstanding work is more than history. Each episode focuses on a significant era, yet speaks clearly to 21st-century man with answers for modern problems.
$49.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)