[ RadSafe ] Secure the Cities Article

Steven Dapra sjd at swcp.com
Sun Feb 3 11:12:31 CST 2008

Feb. 3

         Thank you, Clayton, for posting the link to the informative article.

 From the article:
"Michael A. Levi, a Council on Foreign Relations scholar and the author of 
the recently published book "On Nuclear Terrorism," said the Securing the 
Cities program may be useful but that its backers should be more open about 
its goals and limits. He also worries that too much is being spent on 
technology and not enough on coordination.

"Supporters say that however slight the odds, the risks of a 
nuclear-related attack on New York or another U.S. city are not zero. And 
such an attack's consequences on the nation's economy, society and psyche 
would be too extreme to neglect a goal-line defense, they say."

         What are the odds?  Of course there is no way of knowing.  How 
much time, money, and etc. is Homeland "Security" going to be able to get 
away with throwing at an event whose likelihood may be infinitesimally small?

"To New York leaders, the dirty bomb threat is real. Before New Year's Day 
in 2004, the U.S. government dispatched scores of nuclear scientists with 
covert detection gear to scour five major cities including New York for 
radiation, based on intelligence intercepts of al-Qaeda operatives 
discussing an unspecified new attack. On Aug. 10, New York authorities 
briefly increased their detection efforts after a Web site that monitors 
jihadist Internet sites reported a dirty-bomb threat, which was 
subsequently discredited."

         I wonder if these "operatives" were discussing a proposed attack; 
or if they were bluffing; or blowing smoke in each other's faces, or the 
listeners' faces; or doing some verbal swaggering.  Perhaps they figure 
they are being monitored anyway, so they see how gullible the snoopers 
are.  Bluffing has some useful consequences --- the perpetrators can test 
the capacity to monitor, and the response of the hypothetical victim.  How 
easy is it to verify the authenticity of these intercepted 
discussions?  Note that one dirty-bomb threat was "subsequently discredited."

         In 2002, President Bush claimed that a plot to fly a plane into a 
building in Los Angeles had been foiled.  It seems likely that this alleged 
scheme never progressed beyond the stage of loose talk.  See a short 
article reporting on this published in the New York Review of Books, March 
23, 2006; p. 43.

Steven Dapra

At 03:44 PM 2/3/08 +0000, Clayton Bradt wrote:
>Pretty good piece in the WaPo this
>morning on the problems inherent in
>detecting a "dirty bomb" in NYC.
>Clayton J. Bradt
>Clayton J. Bradt
>dutchbradt at hughes.net

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