Prudent and timely:
The White House is staging a high-level
exercise Saturday to test responses to the prospect of a massive
domestic terrorist attack involving IEDs (improvised explosive
devices)—the same deadly roadside bombs that have been used by
insurgents against the U.S. military in Iraq.
House homeland security adviser Fran Townsend will preside over a group
of senior officials—including Homeland Security Secretary Michael
Chertoff, FBI Director Robert Mueller and Director of National
Intelligence John (Mike) McConnell—as they attempt to deal with the
latest nightmarish scenario cooked up by government counterterrorism
As part of the exercise, the
officials will be handed a thick binder which lays out a scenario
involving simultaneous terror attacks by “sleeper cells” of 20 to 25
individuals each dispersed in five cities across the country: New York,
Washington, Chicago, Houston and Los Angeles. The officials will then
be tested on how they direct their respective agencies to respond.
“We’ve designed this to overtax the system, to push the system beyond
the breaking point,” said one senior administration official familiar
with planning for the event, who declined to be identified talking
about it before it takes place.
planning for domestic terror attacks is not new, the focus on IEDs in
this weekend’s exercise seems at least tacit recognition that the wave
of such attacks that have been killing soldiers and civilians in Iraq
and to a lesser extent Afghanistan could spread to the United States.
Man, can I call it or what?
In a staggering display of ignorance and narrow-mindedness:
I have a sense they’re watching too many reruns of ’24′,” said Rep. Jim
Moran, a Virginia Democrat who serves on the House Appropriations
Defense Subcommittee. “They need to get a grip. We don’t have IEDs
here. They’re creating a state of fear beyond what is helpful.”
Really? Rep. Moran and those about to jump on his
bandwagon might want to avail himself of a newspaper and note the
relative ease with which terrorists can cause death and destruction
with common household items or for a modest investment at the local
Home Depot. If he does not want to believe the press or care what
happens in furrin’ lands he can talk to the homeland security and law
enforcement contacts and read up on the mounds of reporting related to
the acquisition of IED building blocks right here in the US. If he
doesn’t want to do the homework he can always tap the CRS and they’ll
do the heavy lifting for him (with a corresponding leak to FAS/Secrecy
News for the benefit of those who paid for the work, hopefully).
What is probably not covered in the exercise
and needs to be addressed: the psychological/sociological impact on the
population when their home towns start to resemble – even if for the
briefest moment – the urban environment of Iraq.