The Defense Department has scheduled a second major, three-day exercise to combat nuclear terrorism in the Charleston, S.C., area, according to Inside Defense.
The goal is not prevention, but coping with the catastrophic results of a terrorist nuclear attack on a major U.S. port city.
The three-day drill by the military’s Joint Task Force-Civil Support, headquartered at Ft. Monroe, Va., involves managing the effects of a 10-megaton nuclear blast.
A similar exercise was held last summer. Like that one, the Jan. 31 to Feb. 2 drill is centered around a hypothetical blast that affects nearly half a million people across a 900-square mile section of South Carolina. The scenario assumes 10,000 fatalities and more than 30,000 injuries.
Officials from the Department of Homeland Security, including the Federal Emergency Management Agency and senior Coast Guard brass will be on hand.
Though the target of the attack is Charleston, no part of the exercise will actually take place there. Maj. Gen. Bruce Davis, the task force’s commander, will oversee the exercise from Fort Monroe.
Last summer, the similar exercise, “Sudden Respond ’05,” was led by Virginia’s Fort Monroe-based Joint Task Force-Civil Support. It, too, was designed to simulate a nuclear terrorist attack that the highest U.S. officials, including President Bush, have said is the No. 1 threat facing the nation.
Organizers say the nuclear drills should not frighten civilians but instead encourage them to learn how to protect themselves if such an attack – which some officials have referred to as inevitable – should occur.
The drill, reports Inside Defense, is strikingly similar to a scenario detailed by Graham Allison, former Pentagon assistant secretary for plans and policy and current Harvard professor, in his book, “Nuclear Terrorism: The Ultimate Preventable Catastrophe.”
A month after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, Allison wrote, the Central Intelligence Agency presented Bush with a report that al-Qaida had smuggled a 10-kiloton nuclear bomb into New York City. The president, according to the book, dispatched Nuclear Emergency Support Teams of scientists and engineers to New York to search for the weapon, which was never found.
Allison described the devastation that a 10-kiloton nuclear bomb would visit on Manhattan, were it detonated in the middle of historic Times Square: some 1 million people would die almost immediately.
“The resulting fireball and blast wave would destroy instantaneously the theater district, the New York Times building, Grand Central Terminal, and every other structure within a third of a mile to the point of detonation,” he wrote. “The ensuring firestorm would engulf Rockefeller Center, Carnegie Hall, the Empire State Building, and Madison Square Garden, leaving a landscape resembling the World Trade Center site. From the United Nations headquarters on the East River and the Lincoln Tunnel under the Hudson River, to the Metropolitan Museum in the eighties and the Flatiron Building in the twenties, structures would remind one of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Office Building following the Oklahoma City Bombing.”
As WND has reported, for more than 10 years, Osama bin Laden’s al-Qaida has planned to use nuclear weapons in a terrorist attack on the U.S. The plan is dubbed “American Hiroshima.” In fact, as first reported in Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin, captured al-Qaida operatives and documents suggest the weapons have already been smuggled into the country.
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