Thursday, February 22, 2007

An Explosive Homeland Insecurity Issue

How simple: Put a bomb aboard a truck carrying an explosive gas or liquid and detonate it.

There have been four such attacks in Iraq in recent days with a relatively small loss of life -- two dead here, five dead, there, 16 someplace else and six yet another place. But think of the carnage had these attacks been at, say, the enormous Sunoco refinery complex in South Philadelphia?
Don't think it could happen? Think again.

With Vice President Cheney's son-in-law leading the charge, the chemical industry has resisted all efforts to protect U.S. chemical plants against attacks, and a compliant White House and Congress has rolled over and let industry lobbyists scratch their tummies.
Writes Stephen Flynn in The Washington Monthly:
"Readers may be surprised to learn that an oil refinery can pose such a huge threat; terrorists, rest assured, are not. Al-Qaeda has been acquiring experience in these kinds of attacks in Iraq and Saudi Arabia and sharing the details of constructing improvised explosive devices in Internet chat rooms. All the information on the dangers of hydrofluoric acid and the vulnerability of the [Philadelphia] Sunoco facility can be found in publicly available reports that are accessible with the click of a mouse. And there are dozens of other similar plants near urban areas -- from refineries to chemical factories to water-treatment facilities -- where, to this day, in a worst-case scenario, hundreds of thousands of Americans could be killed or injured."
More here and here.

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