New DHS report outlines possible terror and natural threats
| 03.16.2005 | 08:49:34 | Views: 2559 | ID:
March 16 '05: A commission created by a presidential directive to assess the possible dangers which face the United States has been completed. The report addresses risks which the nation faces, as well as how the federal government can communicate with state and local governments to help prevent widespread casualties in the event of a terrorist attack or a large natural disaster. The Associated Press reported Wednesday that the Department of Homeland Security "has been working for a year on a National Planning Scenarios plan that outlines a number of plausible attacks - including by nerve gas, anthrax, pneumonic plague and truck bomb."
According to the a DHS spokesman, Brian Roehrkasse, the plan "will help us better target our efforts and resources in improving the nation's preparedness," the AP reported.The New York Times first reported the story late Tuesday night. According to the Times, the department has "identified a dozen possible strikes it views as most plausible or devastating." Those attacks could be "detonation of a nuclear device in a major city, release of sarin nerve agent in office buildings and a truck bombing of a sports arena," the Times reported. The department said scaring the public was not its goal, and there was no current information which would lead officials to think there are threats of a terrorist attack, the Times reported. Examples of other scenarios that would result in large casualties are: -An exploding chlorine tank which could kill 17,500 people while injuring more than 100,00. -Pneumonic plague spread in the bathrooms of high traffic areas such as sports arenas and airport restrooms could kill 2500 and infect 8000. -Spreading foot-and-mouth disease in the US could cost the cattle industry hundreds of millions of dollars. -A large earthquake or other natural disaster could damage the nation's infrastructure causing millions in damages. The report came at the request of President Bush who wanted "the list of priorities 15 months ago to address a widespread criticism of Homeland Security from members of Congress and antiterrorism experts that it was wasting money." The new report, according to the new Secretary for Homeland Security Michael Chertoff, said it was vital that the nation address the possibility of such risks. "There's risk everywhere; risk is a part of life," Mr. Chertoff told a Senate panel last week, the Times reported. "I think one thing I've tried to be clear in saying is we will not eliminate every risk."
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