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9-11 panel chief: U.S.
at risk of terror nukes

Thomas Kean (UN.org)

The head of the 9-11 commission told a Senate panel today the Bush administration and Congress are not adequately protecting the United States against a possible nuclear attack by terrorists.

Former New Jersey Gov. Tom Kean told the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations that American lives and the U.S. economy are at risk, Reuters reported.

“The size of the problem still totally dwarfs the policy response,” Kean said.

While acknowledging a nuclear attack is less likely that other terrorist actions, Kean said a “nuclear event is possible, and it would have profound and incalculable consequences.”

“Why isn’t the president talking more often about securing nuclear materials?” he asked. “Why isn’t the Congress focused? … Why aren’t the airwaves filled with commentary if everyone agrees that the crossroads of terrorism and nuclear weapons is the most serious threat to our security?”

The U.S. has numerous security gaps in global trade and shipping, said another expert testifying today, Stephen Flynn of the Council on Foreign Relations.

Flynn asserted the country is living on “borrowed time” under the threat of a “dirty bomb” attack that would spread radiation in a residential or business area, touching off panic that could wreak havoc on the economy.

“We’re not acting like a nation at war,” said Flynn.

Yesterday, the government released a report saying federal undercover investigators, in a December test run, entered the United States with enough radioactive material for two dirty bombs.

The report by the Government Accountability Office said radiation monitors at the Mexican border detected the material in the investigators’ cars, but border patrol officials didn’t realize the documents were forged.

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