War on Terrorism

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

CBR Weapons and WMD Terrorism News- January 14, 2009

DHS [Department of Homeland Security] approves $450m biothreat lab at Kansas State [University]
“The Department of Homeland Security has approved a site at Kansas State University for a $450 million lab to study livestock diseases and some of the world's most dangerous biological threats. The agency's final record of decision — a document obtained by The Associated Press — confirmed a decision announced in December to build the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility at the Manhattan, Kan., campus to replace an aging lab at Plum Island, N.Y. DHS spokeswoman Amy Kudwa said the document hasn't been publicly released and declined to comment further about the decision. But the state's two senators issued statements confirming that DHS Undersecretary Jay Cohen had signed it.” (MSNBC; 13Jan09; Source:Associated Press; John Milburn)

Bush, Obama teams hold anti-terror drill
“Aides to President George W. Bush and his successor Barack Obama held a joint exercise Tuesday at the White House that simulated a terrorist attack on several American cities, officials said. […] The catastrophic scenario has US cities hit by terrorists using improvised explosives, White House spokesman Scott Stanzel said before the drill. […] Then Bush administration officials were to join them for the drill that was to last about two and a half hours, Stanzel said. Afterward, both teams were to discuss government responses to other scenarios, including attacks involving nuclear, chemical or biological weapons […]. The exercise was purely hypothetical and was not organized in response to any new threat to the United States or the presidential inauguration ceremonies next week, Stanzel said.” (Inquirer.net; 14Jan09; Source: Agence France-Presse; Laurent Lozano) http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/breakingnews/world/view/20090114-183245/Bush-Obama-teams-hold-anti-terror-drill

SC man [Steven Cucuzzella] charged with threat to kill president [Bush]
“Authorities say a 25-year-old South Carolina man is behind bars after threatening to kill President George W. Bush, use biological weapons to attack other government officials and destroy the Navy brig near Charleston. A federal grand jury on Tuesday indicted Steven Cucuzzella with threatening the president and mailing threatening ommunications.
Prosecutors say Cucuzzella mailed the threat in September. Cucuzzella is being held in the same Navy brig he threatened to destroy. Court records indicate he does not have an attorney.” (Charlotte Observer; 13Jan09;Source: Associated Press)

Big-time disaster [preparation exercise] [OR]
“Emergency exercises designed to simulate a hazardous material spill or chemical attack will occur in Del Norte County [OR] on Thursday, Jan. 15.One of the main goals of the drill, said Cindy Henderson, the county’s emergency services manager, is to give emergency workers training in the use of Chempacks, which are caches of nerve agent antidotes stashed in secret locations across the United States. Some 40 agencies, including California and Oregon departments of public health, will be involved in the exercise, the Daily Triplicate reported.” (Illinois Valley News;

Iraq ratifies treaty banning chemical weapons
“Iraq deposited its ratification of the treaty banning chemical weapons on Tuesday, a move welcomed by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon as a demonstration of the country's commitment to disarmament and nonproliferation. Iraq will be bound by the convention in 30 days, becoming the 186th nation to be a party to the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and on their Destruction.” (MSNBC; 13Jan09; Source:Associated Press; Edith M. Lederer)

[Government Executive] report calls for securing medical devices
“A new report calls on officials to secure widely used medical devices in the United States for fear that terrorists could seize the equipment to build a bomb. The Defense Science Board recently released a report calling for a $200 million investment from the U.S. Defense and Homeland Security departments to ensure the security of medical equipment that uses radioactive isotopes, Government Executive reported. […] Critics of the report say the blood irradiator equipment is critical for ensuring that blood products for transfusions and other reasons are safe.” (Middle East Times; 14Jan09; Source: Government Executive report) http://www.metimes.com/Security/2009/01/13/report_calls_for_securing_medical_devices/0ee8/

Experts debate threat of nuclear, biological terrorism
“There is an ‘almost vanishingly small’ likelihood that terrorists would ever be able to acquire and detonate a nuclear weapon, one expert said here yesterday. In even the most likely scenario of nuclear terrorism, there are 20 barriers between extremists and a successful nuclear strike on a major city, said John Mueller, a political science professor at Ohio State University. The process itself is seemingly straightforward but exceedingly difficult -- buy or steal highly enriched uranium, manufacture a weapon, take the bomb to the target site and blow it up. Meanwhile, variables strewn across the path to an attack would increase the complexity of the effort, Mueller argued.” (Global Security Newswire; 13Jan09; Chris Schneidmiller) http://www.globalsecuritynewswire.org/gsn/nw_20090113_7105.php

SIGA clarifies European regulatory path for lead smallpox anti-viral
“SIGA Technologies, Inc., a company specializing in the development of pharmaceutical agents to fight bio-warfare pathogens, today announced it has received favorable written guidance from the European Medicines Authority (EMEA) about its proposal that its lead orthopox anti-viral drug, ST-246 [for smallpox], should be evaluated using the Agency's procedures for the granting of a marketing authorization under exceptional circumstances, pursuant to Art. 14 (8) of regulation No. 726/2004.” (CNN; 13Jan09; Source: Globe Newswire) http://money.cnn.com/news/newsfeeds/articles/globenewswire/157547.htm

[Indian] army gearing up for ‘dirty bomb’ warfare [and nuclear terrorism]
“The prospect of a terrorist laying hands on nuclear weapons is a global worry and India is also gearing up for this ‘fourth generation warfare,’ Indian Army chief Deepak Kapoor said here Wednesday. ‘It is very much a part of our thought process and we call it fourth generation warfare or the dirty bomb […]. This is the new dimension added to the policy of the Indian Army apart from the counter insurgency and anti-terrorism operations,’ Kapoor added. The army chief also hoped that Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal was in safe hands. ‘I suppose there is a degree of stability and this (Pakistan nuclear weapons falling in the hands of terrorists) does not happen. I hope their (Pakistan’s) weapons are as secure as of any other country,’ Kapoor lamented.” (Thaindian News; 14Jan09)

CNS ChemBio-WMD Terrorism News is prepared by the Chemical and Biological Weapons Nonproliferation Program of the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies at the Monterey Institute of International Studies in order to bring timely and focused information to researchers and policymakers interested in the fields of chemical, biological, and radiological weapons nonproliferation and WMD terrorism.

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