Thursday, July 21, 2011

21-Jul-11: So who's winning in the war against the terrorists?

From ABC News
new intelligence report from the US Department of Homeland Security issued yesterday (Wednesday) says America's public utilities - including water, gas and waste facilities - are the targets of several kinds of terrorism.
  • "While DHS has no specific, credible intelligence of an imminent threat posed to the private-sector utilities, several recent incidents highlight the ongoing threat to infrastructure in the utility sectors from insiders and outsiders..." DHS spokesman Matthew Chandler said." [Source]
  • Entitled "Insider Threat to Utilities," the government report warns "violent extremists have, in fact, obtained insider positions" and that "outsiders have attempted to solicit utility-sector employees" for damaging physical and cyber attacks… There is substantive evidence that  ongoing recruitment of 'insiders' at utilities is rampant.
  • The DHS document refers to the 2010 case where a U.S. citizen, arrested in Yemen during a round-up of suspected al Qaeda members, was found to have worked for multiple contractors "performing non-sensitive maintenance at five different U.S. nuclear power plants from 2002 to 2008" [Source]
  • Among the materials recovered after the operation that killed Osama bin Laden in May, US officials found evidence bin Laden sought to repeat the carnage of the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks on or around its ten year anniversary.
  • A former Homeland Security chief of staff Chad Sweet says a utility attack is the 'only way you can actually kill the large-scale number of Americans' as the former Al Qaeda leader was planning.
The news reports themselves sound dramatized and somewhat sensationalist. This is a shame because the tendency to dismiss warnings of the existential threat posed by terrorists is itself dangerous and undermines the preparations such threats demand.

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