Report: Next Attack Could Top 9/11
Fri Oct 25, 2:32 AM ET
By KEN GUGGENHEIM, Associated
WASHINGTON (AP) - The United States
remains "dangerously unprepared" to deal with another major
terrorist attack, said a report by former top government officials,
academics and business leaders.
"In all likelihood, the next attack will
result in even greater casualties and widespread disruption to
American lives and the economy" than the Sept. 11 attacks, said the
task force chaired by former Sens. Gary Hart, D-Colo., and Warren
Rudman, R-N.H. The report was released late Thursday.
The report comes a week after CIA (news
sites) Director George Tenet warned that Osama bin Laden (news
sites)'s al-Qaida network is likely to strike against the United
States sometime soon and that the current situation is similar to
what existed before the Sept. 11 attacks. Tenet previously said a
terrorist attack would be more likely if the United States takes
military action against Iraq.
Because a year has passed without a
major terrorist attack against the United States, the report says,
"there are already signs that Americans are lapsing back into
Few of the ships, trucks and trains that
enter the United States each day are searched, the report said.
Emergency personnel are unprepared for chemical or biological
attacks. Oil refineries and energy distribution lines could be
sabotaged. State and local police still lack access to State
Department terrorist watch lists.
"When it comes to combating terrorism,
the police officers on the beat are effectively operating deaf, dumb
and blind," it said.
Rudman and Hart had led a previous
commission whose warnings in January 2001 of the likelihood of
catastrophic terrorist attacks seemed prophetic eight months later.
That commission, created by Congress, said the threat of
international terrorism was growing and recommended creating a
domestic security agency.
President Bush (news
sites) created a Homeland Security office shortly after the
Sept. 11 attacks and has proposed creating a full Cabinet
department, but Congress has not yet approved it.
Hart and Rudman's latest panel was
formed by the Council on Foreign Relations. Its 17 members included
former Secretaries of State Warren Christopher and George Shultz,
former FBI (news
sites) and CIA Director William H. Webster and retired Adm.
William J. Crowe, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
In a foreword, Leslie H. Gelb, the
council's president, noted that federal, state and local officials
have taken many steps to strengthen homeland security, but their
effects won't be seen for some time. "You cannot turn a nation as
large and complex as this one on a dime," Gelb wrote.
The Office of Homeland Security is
reviewing the council's report, said spokesman Gordon Johndroe. He
said many of its suggestions are similar to what Bush has proposed.
"We continue to implement what we can and are hopeful that
Congress will appropriate and enact the homeland security
initiatives that the president placed before them," Johndroe said.
Among the panel's recommendations:
_Establish 24-hour operations centers in all states to provide
terror watch list information.
_Provide federal funds to clear the backlog of state and local
government requests for protective gear, training and communications
_Strengthen security for sea and land transportation.
_Evaluate areas of vulnerability for energy supplies and develop
a stockpile of backup components so energy operations could be
restored if damaged.
_Strengthen health agencies' ability to detect disease outbreaks.
On the Net:
Council on Foreign Relations: http://rd.yahoo.com/dailynews/ap/ap_on_go_ca_st_pe/inlinks/*http://www.cfr.org/
Would you recommend this story? |
|Not at all 1
| Shopping for a new
|Get a free price quote from a dealer in your
area. No obligation, no hassle.
Links and services provided