Skip to comments.Slew of Warnings on Nuclear, Biological Terrorism Prompt Worries of Fearmongering
Posted on 12/11/2008 7:01:47 PM PST by neverdem
After a series of dire new warnings about possible terrorist threats—capped by a government commission's report that terrorists are likely to stage a biological or nuclear attack somewhere in the world during the next five years—some experts are urging officials "to retire the fear card," as California Rep. Jane Harman puts it.
"We need to educate and inform the American people, not terrify them with alarming details about possible threats to the homeland," she said, reacting to the 132-page report from the Commission for the Prevention of Weapons of Mass Destruction Proliferation and Terrorism released this week.
Harman, who heads the House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Intelligence and Terrorism Risk Assessment, added, "It's time for the rhetoric about that threat to calm, instead of inflame, an anxious public."
The drumbeat started last month, when Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell said that the potential for a WMD attack in the coming decades is growing. The probability is increasing, he said, that the world will see "large casualty terrorist attacks using chemical, biological, or, less likely, nuclear materials." And the U.S. intelligence community recently released a study warning of an increased risk of the use of mass-casualty weapons by 2025.
Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff echoed the WMD Commission's findings this week, telling reporters that the country is entering "a period of greater strategic threat."
The congressionally mandated WMD Commission, which spent six months studying the threat, did offer some concrete counterterrorism recommendations, including a plea for greater emphasis on biological terrorism. The biological sciences community, in particular, should be more attuned to the risks of potentially dangerous knowledge falling into the wrong hands, the report concluded. It called for awareness similar to that demonstrated by the physics community after the development of nuclear weapons.
"With a nuclear attack, it's a one-shot deal," says James Talent, a former congressman and vice chair of the panel. "With a biological attack, terrorists can strike a city, reload the aerosol can, and come back a week later with the same agent and attack again." The prospect of weaponizing organisms is now greater than ever, the report said, particularly given the explosion in the number and quality of advanced biotech labs at the world's colleges and universities. (Biology is routinely one of the hottest majors in college.)
At the same time, terrorist groups currently lack both the materials and the scientific know-how to produce biological weapons, Talent said. But, he added, that hurdle could be overcome if the price were right.
Chertoff, for his part, noted that over time, the knowledge needed to produce such weapons is expanding. "We've reduced our vulnerability" to terrorist attacks with WMDs, Chertoff said. "But over time, the knowledge base needed to carry out such an attack expands. We're in a race against time."
When the nuclear age began with a mushroom cloud, the commission notes, "all those who worked in the nuclear industry in any capacity, military or civilian, understood they must work and live under a clear and undeniable security mandate. But the life sciences community has never experienced a comparable iconic event. As a result, security awareness has grown slowly, lagging behind the emergence of biological risks and threats."
The danger should not spur security checks for every scientist hoping to study, say, plant genetics, commissioners said, but the dangers of a biological attack should prompt a change in the culture of the life sciences community, to one in which "sensitizes researchers to biosecurity issues and concerns."
As for warning of a likely attack in the next five years, that conclusion was reached after the commission interviewed more than 250 scientists, intelligence, governmental, and nongovernmental experts around the world from Vienna to Moscow to Sandia National Labs in New Mexico.
"We settled on the five-year time frame to show that this is a near-term rather than a long-term security issue," says Talent.
So the Muslim terrorists are not the problem — the warnings are the problem?
So, we’re supposed to stop worrying about national defense so the politicians can redirect that money to their favorite domestic/socialist programs? And, by ceasing to talk about the threat, it will go “poof” and be gone?
I agree on our Government keeping enemy guerrilla warfare threats against us within their secret Government circles. That way, when the attacks are carried out against us, it would be more exciting. And guessing next month’s price of oil would be more of a challenge. ;-)
If our government and politians secured our borders and rounded up all the illegal aliens who’s identities are unknown, maybe we would rest better at night.
I'm scared that they're trying to scare us!
Is that something like putting our heads in the sand? If we pretend it's not real then it's not real? Is Harman nuts?
“some experts are urging officials ‘to retire the fear card,’ as California Rep. Jane Harman puts it.”
Does this include Biden?
The economy is booming too. Anyone that says different is a 'Doom & Gloomer.'
I really can’t comment because I will be banned.
I won’t comment.
JPOST.com: "INDIA WARNS THAT AL-QAIDA TARGETING GOA" by Yaakov Lappin (SNIPPET: ""Today, Goa faces serious threat from terrorists and there were specific inputs that al-Qaida would target certain [tourist] installations in Goa. Goa has a coastline of 105 km., major sea ports and beaches," the state's chief secretary, J.P. Singh, wrote in a memo, according to Indian media.") (Updated December 8, 2008, 5:21) (Read More...)
JIHAD WATCH.org: "EGYPTIAN CLERIC CALLS OBAMA TO CONVERT TO ISLAM" (ARTICLE SNIPPET: "Note the clear implication that if the one to whom this call is issued does not become a Muslim, his life and property will not be safe.") (December 4, 2008) (Read More...)
WHITEHOUSE.gov - News - Fact Sheet: "DEFENDING AGAINST WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION TERRORISM Commission Report Endorses Administration Initiatives and Calls for Continuation of Successful WMD Policies to Address Increasing Threat" (December 3, 2008) (Read More...)
LIFE IN ITALY.com (ANSA): Milan - "TERROR SUSPECTS 'TARGETING ITALY'" (ARTICLE SNIPPET: "The men are believed to have watched instructional films on terrorist attacks and researched methods on the Internet."ARTICLE SNIPPET: "Police also seized the Peace Cultural Centre in the Lombardy village of Macherio, where Ilhami worked as a preacher, during Tuesday's operation. According to investigators, small groups of fundamentalists met at the centre in the evenings after the day's official sermons were finished.") (December 2, 2008)
WEEKLY STANDARD.com: "CLEAR AND PRESENT DANGER The Obama administration is about to discover that the terrorists detained at Guantanamo are there for good reason." by Thomas Joscelyn (December 1, 2008 Edition) (Read More...)
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JIHAD WATCH.org (KSTP.com): "'TWIN CITIES MAN' BLEW HIMSELF UP IN SOMALIA SUICIDE BOMBING" (SNIPPET: "The FBI and Homeland Security are investigating whether Shirwa Ahmed had developed a terrorist recruiting network in the area.") (November 25, 2008) (Read More...)
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THE MEMRI BLOG.org ("Source: Egyig.com, November 22, 2008; Al-Sharq Al-Awsat, November 24, 2008"): "Following Calls For Attacks on Islamist Websites, Al-Gama'a Al-Islamiyya Asks Supporters To Refrain From Violent Operations To Free 'Blind Sheikh'" (SNIPPET: "In a communique, the Al-Gama'a Al-Islamiyya organization called on its supporters not to undertake any armed operation aimed at freeing Sheikh Omar Abd Al-Rahman. The communique followed official warnings in North Carolina and Minnesota about attacks to be carried out by extremists with the aim of freeing the sheikh. The warnings came in the wake of calls for attacks that appeared on Islamist websites.") (Posted November 24, 2008) (Read More...)
Online.WSJ.com - Opinion: "WHAT A SINGLE NUCLEAR WARHEAD COULD DO Why the U.S. needs a space-based missile defense against an EMP attack." by Brian T. Kennedy (ARTICLE SNIPPET: "Consider Iran. For the past decade, Iran -- with the assistance of Russia, China and North Korea -- has been developing missile technology.") (November 24, 2008) (Read More...)
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INTERNET-HAGANAH.com: "HIZBALLAH, HAMAS AND PIJ SERVICE PROVIDERS, REVISTED. (ARTICLE SNIPPET: "Nothing much is changed here. The fact that all three organizations are designated by the United States as Terrorist Entities has done little to prevent US companies from providing them with services for many years now. The sites are those highlighted in reports from the Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center in 2007 and 2008.") (November 17, 2008) (Read More...)
TIMESOnline.co.uk: "RUSSIAN SPY IN NATO COULD HAVE PASSED ON MISSILE DEFENCE AND CYBER-WAR SECRETS" by Roger Boyes in Berlin (ARTICLE SNIPPET: "A spy at the heart of Nato may have passed secrets on the US missile shield and cyber-defence to Russian Intelligence, it has emerged. Herman Simm, 61, an Estonian defence ministry official who was arrested in September, was responsible for handling all of his country's classified information at Nato, giving him access to every top-secret graded document from other alliance countries. He was recruited by the Russians in the late 1980s...") (November 16, 2008) (Read More...)
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WSBTV.com: Jasper, GA - "TAPE SHOWS THIEVES STEALING GUNS FROM PICKENS COUNTY STORE" (Updated November 13, 2008, 2:53 pm) (ARTICLE SNIPPET: "Three masked men broke into the Bargain Barn in Jasper early Saturday morning, smashed display cases and got away with 36 semi-automatic weapons and six rifles." ARTICLE SNIPPET: "If you have any information, you're asked to call 888-ATF-TIPS. You may receive an award.") (Updated November 13, 2008, 2:53 pm) (Read More...)
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PRIESTS FOR LIFE.org - blog: "PRO-CHOICE VIOLENCE" (SNIPPET: "Some other pro-life leaders received a similar message, and it has been reported to law enforcement.") (November 10, 2008) (Read More...)
ONE NEWS NOW.com (AP): Washington - "OBAMA PLAN WILL FREE SOME GITMO TERRORIST SUSPECTS" by Matt Apuzzo and Lara Jakes Jordan (ARTICLE SNIPPET: "Under plans being put together in Obama's camp, some detainees would be released and many others would be prosecuted in U.S. criminal courts.") (November 10, 2008, 5:10 am) (Read More...)
NY SUN.com: Washington - "BIN LADEN'S SON MAKES RETURN TO PAKISTAN Could Signal a New Phase of Iran's Relationships with Al Qaeda" by Eli Lake (ARTICLE SNIPPET: "Al Qaeda is consolidating its leadership in the territory under its control in Pakistan. Osama bin Laden's son and heir apparent, Sa`ad bin Laden, has returned to Pakistan from his safe haven in Iran, according to messages posted on a Qaeda jihad Web forum known as al-Hesbah.") (September 29, 2008) (Read More...)
TELEGRAPH.co.uk: "REPORT IDENTIFIES UK TERRORIST ENCLAVES Secret enclaves of al-Qaeda extremists based in London, Birmingham and Luton are planning mass-casualty attacks in Britain, according to a leaked Government intelligence report." by Sean Rayment (ARTICLE SNIPPET: "The document, which was drawn up by the intelligence branch of the Ministry of Defence, MI5 and Special Branch, states that "some thousands" of extremists are active in the UK. They are predominantly UK-born and aged between 18 and 30, and many are believed to have been trained in overseas terrorist camps. Under the heading "International Terrorism", the report, which is marked "restricted" states: "For the foreseeable future the UK will continue to be a high-priority target for international terrorists aligned with al-Qaeda. It will face a threat from British nationals, including Muslim converts, and UK-based foreign terrorists, as well as terrorists planning attacks from abroad."") (Last updated November 9, 2008, 6:48 am GMT) (Read More...)
SCIAM.com - SCIENTIFIC AMERICA: "TAINTED HEPARIN SEIZED FROM OHIO COMPANY" (SNIPPET: "Federal drug regulators have seized batches of the tainted blood thinner heparin from a Cincinnati manufacturer that used a Chinese-made ingredient linked to 81 U.S. deaths earlier this year.") (November 7, 2008) (Read More...)
GAO.gov/Transition_2009/URGENT - SNIPPET: "Many of the urgent policy concerns identified here are critical and time sensitive and require prioritized federal action. They include oversight of financial institutions and markets, U.S. efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan, protecting the homeland, undisciplined defense spending, improving the U.S. image abroad, finalizing plans for the 2010 Census, caring for service members, preparing for public health emergencies, revamping oversight of food safety, restructuring the approach to surface transportation, retirement of the Space Shuttle, ensuring an effective transition to digital TV, and rebuilding military readiness. There are many other issues which the next Congress and the Obama administration will need to deal with well beyond the transition period and which are also vitally important." (Read More...)
DANIEL PIPES.org - blog: "PREDICTING THE 2008 U.S. PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION" by Daniel Pipes (UPDATE: "I had confidence that the American people would reject Obama when they learned about his extremist political views, dubious associations, and biographical mysteries. I am astonished that these problems hardly registered, I feel bewildered by my own country, and apprehensive by what comes next.") (Updated November 5, 2008) (Read More...)
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If my memory is accurate, 21,000 kilos of Mexican weed were confiscated by the US last week - discovered in a cloned UPS truck - inside our borders. Terrorists may as well hide a WMD within such packages. We have MUCH to fear as long as such weapons of horror exist - but fear can be replaced with preparation. I wish a ‘healthy fear’ upon every citizen to the degree that each not have to endure the terror of panic after such an event occur.
Some noteworthy articles about politics, foreign and military affairs, IMHO, FReepmail me if you want on or off my list.
“So the Muslim terrorists are not the problem the warnings are the problem?”
Well, that and the fact that some people might say mean things to Muslims. Those are the real problems. Terrorism is just a narrative used by right-wing Christian extremists to create these problems.
In a sense, the muslim terrorists are not the problem.
The problem is our reluctance to face it head on. That’s the part that gives them power.
If we were willing to say “I don’t care if I live or die, but I will not live my life in fear!” than the problem would be solved.
The only “government” muslims recognize is Allah.
That makes them ALL TRAITORS!
So are you happy that your wife lives in fear? The questions from your children you can’t answer?
It’s like we have an asteroid heading towards Earth and we’re sitting around saying “Yeah, but it seems like a nice asteroid. It likes us, that’s why it’s coming here”
Thank you Squantos.
But Biden himself warned us of such an attack if Obama got elected.
He wouldn’t lie to us, now would he?
Thanks for the ping!