[ RadSafe ] U.S. Antiterror Funds Spent Unwisely, Experts Say

Clayton J Bradt cjb01 at health.state.ny.us
Tue Mar 4 15:48:58 CST 2008

U.S. Antiterror Funds Spent Unwisely, Experts Say
Some experts believe that the U.S. government is not making wise use of
funds meant to protect the country against a terrorist attack, the Salt
Lake Tribune reported yesterday (see GSN, Feb. 5).
Money is too often directed toward “the threat of the month” rather than
areas that would provide a wider defense blanket, said Cindy Williams, a
security studies scholar at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Williams spoke in the wake of the apparent discovery last week of ricin at
a Las Vegas hotel (see related GSN story, today). The U.S. Army has
funneled millions of dollars toward development of a vaccine for the lethal
toxin, which has been identified as a possible bioterror agent.
However, there have been no ricin-related deaths in the two decades the
Army has spent working on the vaccine. The $1.5 billion potentially needed
for U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval of the treatment would cover
homeland security funding for Utah and six nearby states for 15 years, the
Tribune reported.
“We’d be much better off beefing up our public health system,” Williams
There is “a lot of money being focused on worst-case scenarios — for
massive smallpox epidemics or massive use of anthrax — and you obviously
have to prepare for those,” said biological and chemical weapons expert
Jonathan Tucker of the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies,
“but you also have to prepare for the most likely events, including
small-scale attacks, because those are the ones that are likely to occur
and have occurred in the past.”
The hijackers of the aircraft used in the Sept. 11 attacks were armed with
box cutters, while the 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal
Building in Oklahoma City involved detonation of a truck filled with
Salt Lake City uses an “all hazards” approaching in determining how to
spend its equipment and training funds, said emergency management director
Michael Stever. That means ensuring money helps prepare responders for a
wide variety of emergencies, from a terrorist attack to a natural disaster.
“You can’t throw a dollar at everything,” said national security expert
Amos Guiora, a lecturer at the University of Utah law school (Matthew
LaPlante, Salt Lake Tribune, March 3).
I think we could add RDD detection to this list.

Clayton J. Bradt
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