Waiting For End Of The World

In a new report, the FBI is warning local law enforcement agencies to be on the lookout for extremist religious cults and militias that believe the end of the world is coming in the year 2000.

The report is called Project Megiddo, named for a hill in in Israel some see as the site of Armageddon.

CBS News Consultant James Kallstrom, a former FBI assistant director, spoke with CBS News Correspondent Russ Mitchell about the potential for millennial mayhem.



With Y2K just over two months away, Kallstrom says he sees no cause for alarm. But he says it's prudent to think about what could happen, and to be prepared.

The FBI has been "looking at groups and individuals that are espousing violence" in connection with the turn of the century, says Kallstrom. But the hard part is "to know when fiery rhetoric is going to turn to action."

Of late, the FBI has been saying they have no problem with some of these militias, that they have a right to exercise their free speech rights. Is this an olive branch?

"I think the FBI should talk to all citizens, and anyone that is exercising their constitutional right should have that right, certainly," says Kallstrom. "So, they're doing the right thing, they are preparing, they are talking about what people are saying, things they may be putting on the Internet. They are communicating among themselves and trying to be prepared in case that rhetoric does turn into action."

But Kallstrom doesn't expect there to be a major event or attack.


AP
Former FBI Assistant Director James Kallstrom


"I don't think we're talking about a major attack. We're talking about prudent planning here. I wouldn't concern the citizens to that extent. They should be feeling good about the fact that people are on top of the issue."

Could all the FBI's talk about Y2K violence encourage some groups to do something come New Year's Day?

"I think it's the opposite," says Kallstrom. "The more we can tie citizens, businesses, all of us together on these issues, the better off we are. I think the better informed the public is, the better off we are."