The chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee is warning in a chilling new book that terrorists could easily hit Disney World, the Academy Awards and shopping centers like the Mall of America with killer biological attacks, killing thousands and sending the nation into a panic.
In Failures of Imagination: The Deadliest Threats to Our Homeland--and How to Thwart Them, Texas Rep. Michael McCaul outlines nightmare scenarios of attacks against the United States, and even outlines a possible Russian invasion of Eastern Europe in two years.
It was released Tuesday by Crown Forum.
It is not a novel, but instead lays out real-life potential attacks from a sitting intelligence expert who has had access to daily intelligence about the threats the United States faces.
McCaul presents eight likely attacks, written in the style of the late Tom Clancy, and offers suggestions on how to react.
The most chilling is a biological attack on Orlando's Disney World, a simple affair that he projects could kill over 1,000.
He writes of how women working in a terror plot launch a lethal smallpox attack at Disney. They deliver it through the type of spray fans people use to stay cool in the summer heat.
Fatimah emerged from the women's restroom next to the "City Hall" building in the Magic Kingdom's "Main Street, U.S.A." area at Disney World. She felt a bit better after having splashed some cold water on her face, but was still feeling faint. She fumbled in her purse and pulled out a handheld electric fan that sprayed water, which she used to spray the air all around her. Before she put it away, she made sure to turn around and spray the bathroom door handle.
Fatimah joined the throngs of people making their way down the "Main Street." She was not going anywhere in particular. Her job was simply to make a few ambling circuits of the park, maybe wait in some lines for a few minutes, visit the restroom, and generally spend time in areas where she found a high concentration of people. All she had to do was breathe, cough when she felt like it, and remember to use her spraying fan.
She sprayed wherever she could, making use of the multiple refill cartridges she kept in her purse. She innocuously sprayed wherever crowds were thickest, whenever she lingered at food carts, and whenever she went through a doorway. The spray was refreshing, but it wasn't just water. It was a solution made from the serum Dr. Aziz had supplied, and it carried a deadly strain of smallpox.
McCaul has been a leading voice in pushing the nation to better prepare for a next terror attack and his book should help that campaign.
In Amazon's write-up, the title is explained:
America's inability to foresee the September 11, 2001 attacks was deemed a collective "failure of imagination." Our political leaders and intelligence professionals failed to anticipate the wide-ranging and unorthodox threats to the nation's security.
Nearly a decade and a half later, imaginations in Washington D.C. are still failing.
Despite assurances from our leaders that America is safer today than it was before 9/11, the truth is, we are still vulnerable.
Congressman Michael McCaul has spent years in Washington watching the Obama administration ignore or dangerously underestimate the most pressing threats to the country.
The pre-publishing praise poured in from the nation's top intelligence experts.
"McCaul has captured the very real threats facing our homeland, the factors that have contributed to them, and, most important, what we should do about them," said former acting CIA Director Michael Morell.
"With its eight frightening (but very plausible) scenarios, 'Failures of Imagination' should be must reading for anyone responsible for or just concerned about American security in a turbulent time, added former CIA and NSA director Michael Hayden.
Paul Bedard, the Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.