The CELL: Michael Chertoff talks terrorism, protesters compare it to bee stings

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Big photos below.
Last night, former Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff visited the grand reopening of the CELL, the downtown terrorism prevention center, to discuss cyber security and impending concerns in the Middle East. In front of a packed house at the Denver Art Museum, Chertoff talked both Al-Qaeda and Hezbollah -- as well as Obama and Romney -- while prioritizing what he believes to be the country's greatest coming threats.

"Cyber (security) is at the top of my list of things that need to be addressed by this country," he said.

The CELL, which stands for Counterterrorism Education Learning Lab, is sponsored by wealthy benefactor Larry Mizel and first opened its doors in Denver in 2009 to educate national and global audiences about how to recognize and prevent terrorism. The most notable of these efforts is perhaps its severe video on "Recognizing the 8 Signs of Terrorism," narrated by Football Hall of Famer John Elway. Since it opened, the CELL has attracted more than 100 political dignitaries and a wealth of international support -- as well as some local disdain.

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Chertoff speaks to an audience of hundreds.
Last night, five protesters who hail from activist group We Are Change interrupted Chertoff's speech, shouting sentiments such as "Terrorism is not real!" and " Less people have been killed by terrorism than by bee stings!" before security escorted them away. However, they waited outside the event with sings reading "9/11 was an inside job." Chertoff, who served as the second Secretary of Homeland Security under the second President Bush, smoothed over the interruptions with aplomb and humor, remarking, "We're past the point of denying (Osama Bin Laden) was responsible for 9/11. I think we all also understand there was a landing on the moon."

In addition to celebrating the CELL's brief history and forthcoming programs, last night's gathering hailed the new additions to its rotating exhibits, which opened to the public today. Inside the museum, organizers have installed a two-ton hunk of steel removed from the World Trade Center. Last year, the piece traveled to the state for the Colorado Remembers 9/11 memorial, and it will serve inside the museum as a constant reminder of the event that launched its mission statement.

Also inside the newly redesigned exhibit, the Elway-narrated prevention video is now backed by interactive education stations for each of the eight signs. Visitors to the CELL can quiz their understandings through iPad narratives that place them inside example scenarios before they continue on to exhibits focusing on terrorist financing and other subjects.

"In terms of capability and experience, international terrorists are ahead of domestic terrorists," Chertoff told the audience during an interview panel that also featured Clifford May, president of the conservative Foundation for Defense of Democracies. Looking toward the future, he urged national leaders to adopt a mindset of addressing possible terrorist threats before they are acted upon -- as opposed to the opposite, which he said is the country's current pattern.

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Kelsey Whipple
Outside, protesters deny the need for anti-terrorism action.
"We are not exercising our imaginations the way our enemies are," May said, arguing that it's impossible to "make ourselves inoffensive to our enemies. Weakness is provocative."

Overall, Chertoff supported an evolution in national tactics relating to terrorism, especially the online variety, and echoed the CELL's call for community support: "If you see something, say something."

"Individual involvement is the cornerstone of our security," Chertoff told the gathering.

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Denver Art Museum

100 W. 14th Ave. Parkway, Denver, CO

Category: General

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10 comments
Dana Shetterly
Dana Shetterly

I think it's funny the article mentions part of the exhibit emphasizes terrorism financing because the 911 commission report never looked into it. It said their method of financing was "inconsequential" and not worthy of scrutiny. Anyhow, Want the smoking gun of 9/11? http://ehp03.niehs.nih.gov/article/info:doi/10.1289/ehp.0901159  Wu M, Gordon RE, Herbert R, Padilla M, Moline J, et al. 2009 Case Report: Lung Disease in World Trade Center Responders 
Exposed to Dust and Smoke: Carbon Nanotubes Found in the Lungs 
of World Trade Center Patients and Dust Samples. Environ Health Perspect 118(4)  That's right,carbon nanotubes. Needless to say , they are not formed  by natural processes. Especially single walled nanotubes. 200,000k nanotubes per gram of lung tissue.

guest
guest

I attended this meeting and also took a tour of CELL.  The first exhibit in CELL is a timeline of events that took place on 9/11.  Funny how there is no mention of World Trade Center BLGD 7 collapsing.  Maybe that's because it fell into its own foot print in only 6.5 seconds.

Cr0tchr0cket
Cr0tchr0cket

Chertoff should be prosecuted for profiting off of the body scanners we are all forced to go through at the airport. I bet him and his family don't have to be radiated or groped when they travel!

Rvere44
Rvere44

It is true that more Americans die from bee stings as opposed to terrorism... Also on that list is drowning in the bath tub, the flu, heat waves, lightning, medical malpractice, crossing the street, choking on food, etc, etc, etc....  But none of those other things can justify a huge budget going to wealthy people, and costing the poor..

Donkey Hotay
Donkey Hotay

... and they've been watching you eat lunch for 2 years ...

Guest
Guest

The only terrorist organization 'merican citizens should be concerned with is the federal govt.

Luna Luz
Luna Luz

The Cell is an embarrassment to Denver.  It sits by the Art museum and is so off the planet nobody EVER goes into it.  I've been watching for 2 years as I eat lunch there and have recently seen 1 person attempting to gain entry.  Who would build a paranoia museum too terrorizing to go in?  What is their admission rate?  Why is the City of Denver supporting and advertising this Zionist monstrosity.  The beaded "news" before renovation didn't hesitate to call peace protestors "terrorists."

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