The Lucent Library of Homeland Security - A Vulnerable by Geoffrey A. Campbell

By Geoffrey A. Campbell

Publication by way of Campbell, Geoffrey A.

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Doomsday theorists estimate that the explosion of such a bomb in midtown Manhattan could kill more than two hundred thousand people and injure another two hundred thousand. The blast would also obliterate structures within a wide radius and would produce enough radioactive fallout within three miles of the detonation to kill half of the people exposed to the radiation within a few weeks. Larger nuclear weapons, of course, would have an even more devastating impact. While the use of nuclear weapons has been a threat for many years, their use would be particularly dangerous in the hands of terrorists.

33 A Vu l n e r a b l e A m e r i c a : A n O v e r v i e w o f N a t i o n a l S e c u r i t y fine powder, and used as a weapon of mass destruction. Likewise, plague is a disease caused by a bacterium found in rodents and their fleas. Because it occurs naturally, terrorists could isolate a small amount of the bacterium, grow large quantities in laboratories, and use it to make deadly weapons. Even if terrorist groups were incapable of developing their own bioweapons, government officials are concerned that terrorists could easily obtain them or the knowledge to build them.

S. chemical plant, an explosion that would disperse deadly gases into the air. Likewise, terrorists could explode a truck containing hazardous material. Either attack could prove extremely deadly. As one measure of the chaos such an attack could trigger, experts point to a 1984 industrial accident in Bhopal, India. A Union 41 A Vu l n e r a b l e A m e r i c a : A n O v e r v i e w o f N a t i o n a l S e c u r i t y President Bush holds a chemical agent detector that alerts safety workers to the presence of toxic chemicals in the air.

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