Whipping Up Terror
January 30, 2002
Steven Preisler says his books
are not meant to help
||(CBS) In many ways,
Steve Preisler of Green Bay, Wisc., is an average
He lives in the middle of downtown Green Bay in a
middle-class, residential neighborhood. By day,
hes an industrial chemist. After work, the
single dad takes charge of his two children.
All of this makes it hard to believe that
Preisler has been called the most dangerous man
Under the name of Uncle Fester, Preisler writes
books like Home Workshop Explosvies
and Silent Death, which Preisler
describes as a how-to manual of chemical
Preisler denies wanting to kill people; he say she
just likes the thrill of writing a book that skirts
the edge and then maybe beyond, a book that
He claims his books are of little use to real-life
terrorists. Maniacs generally do not have too much
between the ears, he says. They can pick up a
book and they dont get past the table of
At least one terrorist group did get past the table of
contents. In 1995, members of a Japanese cult used sarin
gas to kill 12 people in the Tokyo subway. In the
investigation that followed, Uncle Festers book,
with its chapter on sarin gas, was found amid the
cults research materials.
Im rather sad that that happened, says
Preisler, who gets email from all over the world,
but I dont feel responsibility for what they
did. Theyre the ones who did it.
In California, Timothy Tobiason is proud that his manuals
pose a threat to society and boasts that they are so
dangerous that government agents are out to get him. He
claims these agents have committed acts of property
damage, harrassment, threats and burglary against him.
Tobiason lives out of his car and sells his materials at
gun shows throughout the country.
He also brags about the way he once handled someone he
believed to be a federal agent. I said, Look,
I know you guys can kill me, you can kill my kids,
theres nothing I can do about it. But two weeks
after you kill me and bury me and my kids, somebody can
take communicable weapons to every grade school within 50
miles of CIA headquarters - because thats who I
presume I was talking to - infect all of them. They go
home, infect mom and dad, mom and dad goes back to the
CIA and two weeks later, the CIA is gone. I said I
can do that after you kill me. So there.
Raymond Zilinskas, a biiological weapons expert, says
there is good reason to worry about Tobiasons
manuals. We should take them very seriously,
he says. They are cookbooks for death, very simple,
for mass death
Meanwhile, Preisler shows 48 Hours how easy
it is to make your own nitroglycerin, using the recipe
from his updated book. Everything he needed is on the
shelf of his local hardware store.
For $11.54, he bought the ingredients for half a pint of
nitroglcerin, enough explosive to blow up a building. And
he were able to mix it all up except for one
crucial ingredient in the kitchen.
Its all part of what Preisler calls good,
clean chemist fun.