War on Terrorism

Friday, January 16, 2009

CBR Weapons and WMD Terrorism News- January 16, 2009

Pilot program expansion to improve public health testing [LA]
“A pilot program that has increased efficiency of state laboratory testing for medical uses in twelve parish health units since 2006 will soon go statewide, and be expanded to include environmental testing. […] The system will improve the efficiency of the testing process by making results available immediately to doctors and other health professionals via secure Internet access. The data is also transmitted to the CDC [Centers for Disease Control] as needed. The system allows for improved handling of results and data from bioterrorism events, environmental hazard events such as oil or chemical spills, and hurricane response.”(Southwest Daily News; 16Jan09; Staff reports) http://www.sulphurdailynews.com/news/x743987357/Pilot-program-expansion-to-improve-public-health-testing

[Department of Homeland Security nominee Janet] Napolitano pledges shift in immigration focus [and discusses protection of biolabs]
“ […] Among other things, [Janet Napolitano, President-elect Barack Obama's nominee to head the Department of Homeland Security] said she […] may push back a 2012 deadline to screen all U.S.-bound containers at foreign ports. […] Napolitano said […] [the federal government] needs to bolster cybersecurity and work with the private sector to protect critical infrastructure, such as chemical plants and academic biological research facilities. […] ‘The federal government cannot do the homeland-security function alone,’ she said.” (Washington Post; 16Jan09; Spencer S. Hsu) http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/01/15/AR2009011501542.html

Report warns states must prepare for flu pandemic
“The U.S. government announced on Thursday that states have made progress in stockpiling drugs and preparing to vaccinate people in case of a widespread flu pandemic, but are far behind in plans for the ensuing months of disruption. Most states responsible for maintaining food supply in an emergency are adequately prepared, but transportation plans had a long way to go, according to the report from the U.S. Health and Human Services department. A pandemic of something, probably influenza, is inevitable and the U.S. government has been pushing states to develop preparedness plans, health experts said.” (Red Orbit; 16Jan09) http://www.redorbit.com/news/health/1624526/report_warns_states_must_prepare_for_flu_pandemic/

Blue Grass Army Depot [KY] completes liquid disposal of nerve agent [sarin], working on container disposal
“[…] Operation Swift Solution outlined three phases for the complete neutralization of the nerve agent sarin […]. In the first phase, the liquid nerve agent was to be slowly drained and neutralized. In the second phase, rust and ‘sludge’ from the barrels will be removed and neutralized. And the third phase will involve disposing of the secondary waste produced during the first two phases. […] [P]hase one was completed on Dec. 18. […] The Blue Grass Army Depot is the only site in the United States that has GB left […].” (Eastern Progress; 15Jan09; Ben Kleppinger) http://media.www.easternprogress.com/media/storage/paper419/news/2009/01/15/News/Blue-Grass.Army.Depot.Completes.Liquid.Disposal.Of.Nerve.Agent.Working.On.Contai-3586021.shtml

Threat of dirty bomb reduced by NNSA [National Nuclear Security Administration]
“The National Nuclear Security Administration says it has achieved a milestone in reducing the threat of a terrorist creating a dirty bomb in the United States. The NNSA said it has recovered more than 20,000 excess radioactive sources in the United States as part of the Global Threat Reduction Initiative. The recovery of materials like plutonium, cesium and cobalt, among others, is seen as an achievement in reducing the possibility that these materials could be seized by terrorists and used in making a dirty bomb, the NNSA reported.” (Middle East Times; 16Jan09;
Source: UPI)

Azerbaijani government to take measures to observe a law on approval of International Convention against Nuclear Terrorism
“The Azerbaijani President has issued a decree on application of the Law on approval of International Convention against Nuclear Terrorism. The Presidential Administration press service informs that in connection with enforcement of the Law (passed on 2 December 2008) it was decided to ensure measures aimed at this law compliance. […] Azerbaijan acceded to the Convention with a condition and a separate statement saying of a refusal to realize the document’s requirements on Azerbaijani territories occupied by Armenia.” (ABC News Azerbaijan; 15Jan09) http://abc.az/eng/news_15_01_2009_31300.html

Notwithstanding Obamamania, the U.S. is fixated on terrorism[Editorial: Marcus Gee]
“‘The gravest threat that America faces is the danger that weapons of mass destruction will fall into the hands of terrorists.’ Who said that? […] [I]ncoming secretary of state Hillary Clinton, a Democrat, at her Senate confirmation hearings this week. […] Let's remember what Americans remember. The terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, may be a fading memory in much of the world. American leaders, though, remain fixated on the double threat of terrorism and weapons of mass destruction.” (The Globe and Mail; 16Jan09; Marcus Gee) http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20090115.wcogee16/BNStory/specialComment/home

Crowds complicate Obama inaugural security
“Barack Obama's inauguration as the first U.S. black president will take place on Tuesday amid unprecedented security aimed at protecting him as well as the record crowds expected to attend. […] [T]ens of thousands of police and troops will guard the land, skies and waters around Washington. The Homeland Security Department and other authorities […] say they are prepared for a wide range of potential catastrophes, including a chemical weapons attack and bitterly cold weather. […] An intensified air patrol will guard the skies, and rivers bordering the city will be patrolled. Other security measures include stationing chemical-sensing teams, closing bridges into the city and sealing off a large area of downtown to cars. […] The threat of chemical, biological or radiological weapons figured prominently in the precautions […].” (Reuters; 16Jan09; Randall Mikkelsen)

[U.S.] Military report raises [WMD] concerns about social unrest fueled by globalization, urbanization
“A new report from the U.S. military warns of globalization and urbanization fueling social unrest, as well as […] a weakened U.S.globally if there are major reductions in U.S. defense spending. The Joint Operating Environment 2008 report by the U.S. Joint Forces Command outlines potential short- and long-term security worries, including terrorist networks obtaining nuclear and biological weapons, as well as instability and aggressiveness involving China, India, Pakistan, India and the Middle East.” (MSN; 15Jan09; Source: Bizjournals.com)

Suspicious white powder found at [FL] ICE [Immigration and Customs Enforcement] office
“Authorities were working to identify a suspicious white powder found in the mailroom of a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement building, which forced nearly 75 people to evacuate. No one was taken to the hospital. Those affected went through a decontamination process. […] Employees at the ICE building were sent home after the scare, which was reported just before 2 p.m. The jail reopened after a few hours.
A sample of the powder was sent to a lab to determine exactly what it is.” (Fort Mill Times; 16Jan09)

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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