Nuclear attack warning story dismissed
by TJ Aulds
The Daily News
Published February 2, 2006
If you are reading this, you survived a predicted nuclear attack on Texas City.
Recent weeks have seen the city mentioned as the subject of rampant Internet and e-mail claims suggesting that emergency management officials were preparing for some form of attack.
Officials with several agencies said those reports are false.
Shauna Dunlap, a spokesman for the FBI, said that there are “no credible or corroborated threats to the area.”
That attack was to have taken place Tuesday, based on those reports. A report filed on the Arctic Beacon Web site as well as the site owner’s Internet radio show had warned of a pending nuclear attack on the city — not from terrorists, but the federal government.
Basing his information on a report from a man claiming to be a former U.S. Army intelligence officer, show host Greg Szymanski reported that the area was likely the target for a government-led nuclear attack.
The report quickly made the rounds via e-mail and blog sites. Attempts to reach Szymanski to comment on his report were unsuccessful.
On Wednesday, people driving along Galveston’s Seawall Boulevard could see unmarked black trucks and sport utility vehicles bearing government license plates near crews setting up what appeared to be satellite or radar gear on the beach.
The crews were wearing shirts embossed with the words, “Weapons of Mass Destruction Civil Support Team,” a branch of the U.S. Defense Department.
It was enough to get even the timidest conspiracy theorist thinking something was up.
But local homeland security officials as well as the FBI said the Internet story and the arrival of the Weapons of Mass Destruction team are little more the coincidental training exercises that may have been blown out of proportion.
Bruce Clawson, director of homeland security for Texas City, said he was alerted to the online report and passed the information to the FBI. He said it was a routine measure.
“Based on what we know, we are not aware that this (report) had any basis in fact,” said Clawson. “Anyone indicating anything other than training is seriously misinformed.”
Members of the Weapons of Mass Destruction team told The Daily News they were calibrating equipment for an upcoming drill.
Team members said they were participating in a series of seminars at the San Luis Hotel & Conference Center, not far from where they had set up shop.
Daily News reporter Scott E. Williams contributed to this report