Security was tightened today at the Hart-Dole-Inouye Federal Center in Battle Creek after a bomb threat was leveled nationally at the Church of Scientology, which owns a building nearby.
Two parking lots were cleared, the center’s Champion Street entrance was closed and blinds were drawn in all windows at the building at 74 N. Washington Ave.
Employees were told the security level was raised and they were encouraged to curtail outside activities near the building.
“We learned of potential for increased law enforcement activity in that area,” Ken MacNevin, a Federal Center spokesman said this morning.
Battle Creek police said the increased security was because of a national threat to the Church of Scientology made by a group called Anonymous. The alleged threat was posted in February on YouTube, a Web-based video sharing network, announcing attacks against the national church would happen today.
The Church of Scientology has an office at 66 E. Michigan Ave. and owns the former Hart Hotel at 31 N. Washington Ave., about a block from the Federal Center.
Police were notified today about the threat and members of the Battle Creek Police Department Bomb Squad, using a Michigan State Police dog trained to detect explosives, inspected both buildings but did not find anything.
MacNevin said Wednesday afternoon the Federal Center would “continue some things during the time they are appropriate and that relates to the information we receive,” but he would not be specific.
Several people who claimed to be either members of Anonymous or agree with their views told the Enquirer the group is non-violent and they believe the threats were made by the church.
“I think it is a fake threat by the Scientologists to discredit their critics,” said Tony Meman, 27, of Lansing.
Mike Delaware, minister of the Battle Creek church, said while the local office has had prank phone calls since January, they had no problems today.
He also rejected the idea the church had anything to do with the bomb threats, referring to a video placed by the church on YouTube. It is available at www.youtube.com/user/anonymousfacts. [Consumer Alert: link leads to Scientology propaganda — RNB]