America utterly unprepared for terrorist attacks?
So concludes a panel of the august Council on Foreign Relations, co-chaired by former Senators Warren Rudman and Gary Hart – “co-chairs of the now famous Commission on National Security that warned of such a terrorist attack three years ago.”
Among the risks
650,000 local and state police officials continue to operate in a virtual intelligence vacuum including having no access to terrorist watch lists provided by the U.S. Department of State to immigration and consular officials.
While 50,000 federal screeners are being hired at the nation’s airports to check passengers, only the tiniest percentage of containers, ships, trucks, and trains that enter the United States each day are subject to examination-and a weapon of mass destruction could well be hidden among this cargo.
First responders-police, fire, emergency medical personnel-are not ready to respond to a chemical or biological attack. Their radios can’t talk with one another and they lack the training and protective gear to protect themselves and the public in an emergency. The consequence of this could be the unnecessary loss of thousands of American lives.
An adversary intent on disrupting America’s reliance on energy need not target oilfields in the Middle East. The homeland infrastructure for refining and distributing energy to support our daily lives remains largely unprotected to sabotage.
Our own ill-prepared response has the capacity to hurt us to a much greater extent than any single attack by a terrorist. America is a powerful and resilient nation and terrorists are not supermen. But the risk of self-inflicted harm to our liberties and way of life is greatest during and immediately following a national trauma.