Napolitano screens anti-terror video

By Jason Kosena
THE COLORADO STATESMAN

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano joined Gov. Bill Ritter on Monday afternoon for the release of a new video designed to help Coloradans identify terrorist activities.

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano speaks to reporters Monday after touring The CELL exhibit in Denver on combatting terrorism as Gov. Bill Ritter, left, watches.
Photo by Jason Kosena/The Colorado Statesman

The video — produced in association with the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security and narrated by former Denver Broncos quarterback John Elway and 9News anchor Kim Christiansen — aims to help people spot terrorist activity so they can report it to authorities. The eight-minute video was funded by a grant from the Department of Homeland Security and produced by the Denver-based Center for Empowered Living and Learning (CELL) at a cost of $30,400.

“Eight years after 9/11, it’s important for all of us to remember that we must always, always be prepared,” Ritter said to reporters and a handful of VIP guests at Mad Greens restaurant next door to The CELL exhibit at the Denver Art Museum.

“As we know, the United States is not immune from terror attacks. And any one of us can help stop an attack.” Ritter continued. “The video will help empower citizens with the knowledge they need to protect our communities, our state, our nation.”

In her remarks, Napolitano noted that it’s important for citizens to realize that anyone can be a victim of terrorism, even those who live outside major U.S. population centers.

“Terrorism is with us,” Napolitano said. “It has been with us for a number of years. But (today) it takes many forms and encompasses a wide range of geographic dispersion.”

Napolitano — whose appearance came only two weeks after federal authorities foiled a terrorism plot rooted in Denver — said Coloradans should remain vigilant in protecting their community.

“Unfortunately, in the world we live in today, everyone has to assume the threat of terrorism is anywhere,” Napolitano said. “It’s New York City. It could also be Denver.”

Larry Mizel, a co-founder of The CELL, introduces Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and Gov. Bill Ritter during a press conference.
Photo by Jason Kosena/The Colorado Statesman

The video, which was screened for reporters Monday, is available to the public on The CELL’s Web site, www.thecell.org. It takes an often elementary approach to delivering the message that ordinary Americans can be either the victims of violence plotted by terrorists or the instigators of those violent events.

The video asks viewers to report suspicious activities that could indicate that a terrorist attack is imminent.

Included in the long list of suspicious activities were checking a watch, taking pictures with cell phones, and buying guns, fertilizer or gold. It also suggested that people should be suspicious of those who buy large items with cash — including purchasing cars with “gift cards” — and should look askance at those who donate money to unknown charities or take notes with a pen on pad of paper in such places as the West Steps of the state Capitol.

“Anyone can become a victim of terrorism, any time, anywhere,” Elway said in his narration. “Together, we can change this. Each of us has a responsibility to protect our community, and we can do so by recognizing the signs of terrorism and taking proper action to stop it.”

The eight steps of terrorism outlined in the video are:

1) Surveillance
2) Elicitation
3) Tests of Security
4) Funding
5) Acquiring Supplies
6) Impersonation
7) Rehearsal Phase
8) Deployment

Those steps are dramatized in the CELL video, and the terrorists are played by white Americans and one African American, thus suggesting that those who will plot the next terrorist attack on Denver are apt to look as ordinary as anyone walking down 16th Street Mall using a cell phone.

Napolitano was in Denver this week to speak at the International Association of Chiefs of Police at the Colorado Convention Center. She was joined there by U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and FBI Director Robert Mueller.

Jason@coloradostatesman.com