War on Terrorism

Saturday, April 03, 2010

CBR Weapons and WMD Terrorism News, April 2, 2010

ACLU blasts bioterrorism charge against HIV-positive man [MI] "The American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan is urging a Macomb County Circuit judge to drop a bioterrorism charge against an HIV-positive man accused of biting his neighbor. In a friend-of-the-court brief filed late Wednesday, the group claims the statute behind the state's bioterrorism law was not intended to cover an HIV-person biting another person. The group argues the charge against Clinton Township resident Daniel Allen should be dismissed because HIV is not transmitted through biting if the alleged biter isn't bleeding. No evidence has been presented to show Allen was bleeding when he allegedly bit his neighbor's lip in October 2009 during a dispute over a football. Prosecutors charged Allen with assault and later added a bioterrorism charge on claims he was trying to use the virus as a weapon. The case is being heard before Macomb Circuit Judge Peter Maceroni. [...] The ACLU says, to its knowledge, this is the first time the bioterrorism law has been used in connection with the prosecution of an HIV-positive person." (Detroit News ; 01Apr10; Christine Ferretti) http://www.detnews.com/article/20100401/METRO/4010463/1361/ACLU-blasts-bioterrorism-charge-against-HIV-positive-man

Beijing considers evacuation routes for BW attack
"The Chinese capital of Beijing has prepared a system to identify where a terrorist might release a biological agent such as anthrax [spores] to cause the greatest harm, the South China Morning Post reported yesterday. 'If you are a trained terrorist, you will want to choose a time and a location to release the toxic gas [sic] so that it can kill the maximum amount of people,' said Liu Shuhua, deputy chief of the Atmospheric Sciences Department at Peking University. 'We have pinned down all possible locations.' A terrorist in one vehicle near the Great Hall of the People could release disease material and, given wind patterns in the city, expect it to disperse over much of Tianenmen Square, according to Liu and his fellow researchers. Five-lane roadways to the east and west of the square have long been viewed as the optimum ways to flee the area during an emergency. However, the researchers prepared models that show that winds would blow the majority of anthrax spores to the east-side roadway; the material would then settle there, posing a threat to anyone trying to use that escape route. 'When such an incident happens, a security department of the government will use software and a super computer that we developed for them to determine the dispersion pattern of the toxic gas,' according to Liu." (Global Security Newswire ; 31Mar10) http://www.globalsecuritynewswire.org/gsn/nw_20100331_7035.php

Discharged soldiers sue for millions over anthrax [vaccine] experiment
"Sixty-four former IDF [Israel Defense Forces] soldiers are suing the Defense Ministry for NIS 18 million ($4.8 million) over what they claim is damage caused to them during Anthrax vaccine experiments in the early 1990s. The experiments, which were meant to determine the efficacy of an Anthrax vaccine, were carried out in light of what was then defined at the time as the 'strategic threat of a surprise biological attack facing Israel.' Nicknamed 'Omer 2,' the experiments included 716 IDF soldiers picked out of a pool of 4,000. The lawsuit, filed with the Petah Tikva District Court, is based on the principle according to which anyone who decides to take part in an experiment must do so willingly and after considering the risks involved. As part of the lawsuit the soldiers are demanding that the state reveal the ingredients of the serum that was given to them, in addition to NIS 300,000 (about $80,000) in damages to each plaintiff for mental anguish and emotional distress resulting from the involuntary use of one's body and medical negligence." (Ynetnews; 29Mar10; Vered Luvitch) http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3869416,00.html

Census employee questions safety at processing center in Jeffersonville [IN]
"Census forms are arriving at the National Processing Center in Jeffersonville by the millions. The center is providing lots of new jobs in the area, but we've discovered that some employees are afraid because of something else that's arriving in the mail. Things have changed a lot since 2000 with the threat of terrorism after 9/11, then the subsequent Anthrax scare and now we're seeing an increase in anti-government sentiment. Because of all that, the Census Processing Center is taking extra security precautions but at least one employee worries that might not be enough. [...] But a whistleblower, who is speaking on behalf of her good friend who works for the census, says they're finding much more than official government forms inside those envelopes. 'Many, many envelopes that contain material. Nasty notes. Things that are spilled onto the documents, bodily fluids in some cases, things that are powdery substance, sand. And they open then envelopes and this material will come out.'" (WHAS 11; 31Mar10) http://www.whas11.com/news/iteam/Census-employee-questions-safety-at-processing-center-in-Jeffersonville-89634492.html

Homeland Security Department renews animal disease centers
"Efforts to protect the nation from potentially catastrophic animal diseases - some of which are transmissible to humans - will continue with a $21 million package from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to Texas A&M University and Kansas State University. The monies will support the homeland security department's Center of Excellence for Foreign Animal and Zoonotic Disease Defense at the universities through 2016. Based at Texas A&M, the National Center for Foreign Animal and Zoonotic Disease Defense, or FAZD Center, has led a consortium of universities and institutions in efforts aimed at protecting American agriculture and public health since 2004. [...] Texas A&M and Kansas State researchers will focus their efforts in four areas over the next six years: - Development of vaccines to counter diseases that could cause catastrophic human illness or seriously impact the economy. - Development of rapid diagnostic methods for identification and detection of foreign animal, emerging and/or zoonotic diseases. - Development of models to simulate disease spread and impact. - Development of educational programs designed to train first responders and producers in recognition and control of these diseases." (Southwest Farm Press; 30Mar10; Kathleen Phillips) http://southwestfarmpress.com/livestock/homeland-security-animal-disease-centers-0330/

U.S. hands over laboratory facilities to Zimbabwe
"The United States government officially handed over a new, upgraded bio-safety level 2+ laboratory to the Minister of Health, Dr. Henry Madzorera. The facility will enhance the capacity of the Ministry of Health and Child Welfare to offer clinical and diagnostic testing as well as research on indigenous/exotic agents which may cause serious disease after inhalation, such as Mycobacterium tuberculosis (TB), typhoid (Salmonella Typhi), anthrax (Bacillus anthracis) and the H1N1 virus. Speaking after a tour of the facilities with the Minister of Health and Child Welfare, U.S. Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Charles Ray described the cooperation between the government of Zimbabwe, the private sector, and the international community as 'historic.' 'This is an historic occasion. The Ministry of Health and Child Welfare is entering into a mutually beneficial relationship with a non-traditional partner, a private research laboratory administered by the National Microbiology Reference Laboratory (NMRL) and Biomedical Research and Training Institute (BRTI). This cooperation will significantly enhance Zimbabwe's testing efficiency and enable research capacity as never before,' said the U.S. Ambassador. The laboratory received US$120,000 from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief for the renovation of the laboratory and the procurement of supplies. In addition, CDC trained laboratory personnel on conducting assays and quality assurance." (Zimbabwe Telegraph; 30Mar10; Tapiwa Makore)

Versar awarded $29.5 million contract by U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
"Versar, Inc [...] announced today that it was awarded a five-year (base + 4 option years) contract with a ceiling value of $29.5 million from the United States Army Corps of Engineers, Los Angeles District to support range cleanup of military munitions and explosives at the National Training Center (NTC), Fort Irwin, California. The NTC, located in the Mojave Desert midway between Las Vegas and Los Angeles, is the only instrumented training ground in the world capable of handling brigade-sized units. As large as the State of Rhode Island, NTC conducts live 'force on force' training exercises that could involve 4,000 - 5,000 soldiers per month. A large number of munitions and explosives are expended each month across the range. Under this contract, Versar is responsible for locating, identifying, marking and disposing of a wide-variety of munitions and explosives so that NTC range operations can continue to be conducted safely and efficiently." (Fox Business; 01Apr10) http://www.foxbusiness.com/story/markets/industries/finance/versar-awarded--million-contract-army-corps-engineers/

Agency seeks return of emergency alert radios given to residents near Pine Bluff Arsenal [AR]
"Residents in Grant and Jefferson counties will have to return emergency alert radios that were distributed to give early warning in case of a chemical weapons accident at the Pine Bluff Arsenal. The arsenal has completed destruction of nerve agents and is nearing full destruction of mustard gas-related weaponry. When the work is done later this year, officials will ask for the radios back. The radios were also used to provide severe weather alerts, but arsenal officials say the boxes would have to be reset weekly to continue to provide that function. There is also a planned frequency change which will make the radios unable to receive the weather signal. Officials say a Texarkana company is to collect the radios for salvage." (KFSM (Fayetteville, AR); 01Apr10) http://www.kfsm.com/news/sns-ap-ar--pbarsenal-radios,0,4151847.story

Public safety program targets gases, toxins [GA]
"Newnan Fire Department conducted Hazardous Materials (Haz-Mat) training on Wednesday jointly with the city of Carrollton Fire Department. [...] Newnan Fire Chief David Whitley said his department trains with Carrollton several times each year. The purpose of Wednesday's training was to keep firefighters familiarized with the equipment, particularly the unit's lab. Whitley described it as a 'chemical library' and said they use the lab to identify the substance they are dealing with in an emergency situation. [...] Newnan always has access to enough equipment to respond immediately to an emergency involving hazardous materials. They begin to assess the situation and get citizens to a safe distance while Carrollton responds with the regional Haz-Mat trailer. Firefighters are trained in incident command, which is used nationwide so that in large-scale disasters agencies can work together fluidly. Plus, as in fire situations, every scene is different, according to Whitley. Newnan doesn't encounter these type calls often, and when they do it's usually in response to chemical mistakes in an industrial environment or diesel spills in a traffic accident." (Times-Herald; 01Apr10; Elizabeth Richardson)

Man exposed to mustard agent at Umatilla Chemical Depot [OR]
"Early test results are in and leaders from the Umatilla Chemical Depot do in fact believe a worker was exposed to mustard agent. The depot is still waiting to hear back from independent lab results but early indications from the CDC are positive. About two weeks ago, a worker developed a blister on his skin, which is one of the symptoms. But depot workers are confident this won't lead to any severe health issues. 'We do know that mustard agent is a known carcinogen. But then again, so is prolonged exposure to sunlight and tanning beds. At that point you get into dosage and continued exposure. The gentleman is not in any way exposed to this. It's going to be an acute event to which we expect full recovery and continuation on,' explains Greg Mahall with the Chemical Weapons Depot. The man's name has not been released. He also hasn't missed any work as a result of the exposure." (KNDO/KNDU (Kennewick, WA); 31Mar10)

State audit faults oversight of federal grants for chemical emergencies [KY]
"For a second year, State Auditor Crit Luallen has zeroed in expenditures she deemed questionable in federal grant funds meant to help rural Laurel County prepare for chemical emergencies. Luallen's report on Tuesday -- which assessed how well Kentucky is monitoring federal money flowing into the state -- questioned nearly $30,000 in federal Chemical Stockpile Emergency Preparedness Program grant funds reimbursed to Laurel County in southeastern Kentucky. The program provides funding to help a 10-county region of the state prepare for any chemical emergencies that might arise from the Blue Grass Army Depot at Richmond, which has a stockpile of chemical weapons. The audit covered the fiscal year that ended last June 30. The questionable expenditures were for equipment insurance and generator maintenance." (Courier-Journal; 30Mar10; Bruce Schreiner) http://goo.gl/hBTi

Chemical attack exercise in Zion [IL]
"'Contact! Contact! He's under the car!' yelled the gas-masked Zion police officer, part of the department's Rapid Deployment Response Team. He was hunting a 'terrorist' who had just unleashed a chemical attack Friday inside Central Middle School. It was only a drill. The yearly exercise is mandated by the Illinois Terrorism Task Force, requiring local first responders and military companies to coordinate their response. [...] The area was crawling with camouflaged army reservists, and participants included the 472nd Chemical Battalion, 379th Chemical Company, a platoon from the 342nd Chemical Company (Biological Integrated Detection System), and 1171st Area Support Medical Company. Behind the school were two vehicles under camouflaged netting from the 342nd Chemical Company. The vehicles were equipped with high-tech equipment that literally sniffed the air for toxins." (Lake County News-Sun; 29Mar10; Frank Abderholden) http://www.suburbanchicagonews.com/newssun/lifestyles/2125598,5_1_WA27_TRAINING_S1-100327.article

U.S. and Italy sign megaports initiative agreement to prevent smuggling of nuclear and radioactive material
"The governments of the United States and the Italian Republic have partnered to prevent the smuggling of nuclear and other radioactive material through the global maritime system. Under the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed today in Rome, the Department of Energy's National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) will work with the Customs Agency of the Italian Republic under a cost-sharing arrangement to help secure cargo containers passing through several Italian ports, including Genoa and Gioia Tauro. [...] Under this cost-sharing arrangement, NNSA will work with Italian Customs to equip key ports in Italy with radiation detection equipment and an associated communications system. This specialized equipment will help to detect the presence of illicit or smuggled nuclear and other radioactive materials in cargo containers shipped through these ports. NNSA will also train the Italian officials who will operate the detection equipment." (National Nuclear Security Administration; 30Mar10) http://nnsa.energy.gov/2883.htm

Review set for major U.S. radiation detection program
"The U.S. Government Accountability Office plans to review the progress of a federal program that deploys technology at foreign seaports to detect nuclear or radiological weapons materials that could be used in an act of terrorism. The evaluation of the Megaports Initiative was requested in January by Representative Edolphus Towns (D-N.Y.), chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. Towns called for congressional auditors to assess whether the program had addressed recommendations of a 2005 GAO report that asserted that 'limited progress' had been made in fielding radiation sensors at high-threat seaports. Among the recommendations were a long-term plan identifying how many and which foreign ports would be equipped with portal detection systems and a better cost projection analysis for the program." (Global Security Newswire; 31Mar10; Stephanie Palla) http://www.globalsecuritynewswire.org/gsn/nw_20100330_1356.php

'Terrorist attack' on Las Vegas canceled: politics over preparedness? [NV]
"One thing is definite about this year's federal play-acting exercise to assess national emergency preparedness: A faux radioactive nuke, or 'dirty bomb,' will not be blowing up the Las Vegas Strip in May. Reminiscent of Stephen King's 'The Stand' featuring a similar cataclysmic showdown in Vegas, the preparedness exercise proved too much for many Nevadans, already battered by a poor economy and worried about a PR [public relations] nightmare. Sen. Harry Reid (D) of Nevada, in the midst of battling for the White House's healthcare reforms, wrote late last year that to 'simulate a nuclear detonation in the heart of the city would unacceptably harm the Southern Nevadan economy.' [...] Against that practical and political backdrop, the Obama administration scratched Vegas as the National Level Exercise [NLE] host city late last year. That leaves the NLE 2010, which involves 10,000 responders, still on the calendar but without a practice field: DHS has yet to publicly announce the city - or even the scenario - it plans to use in mid-May. (It usually takes upward of a year to plan an NLE exercise.)" (Christian Science Monitor; 30Mar10; Patrik Jonsson) http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Politics/2010/0330/Terrorist-attack-on-Las-Vegas-canceled-Politics-over-preparedness

U.S.-Vietnam cooperation on civil nuclear power and nuclear security
"The United States and Vietnam have reaffirmed a common commitment to the responsible expansion of civil nuclear power and reiterated that this expansion must proceed in a manner that maximizes nuclear safety and security and minimizes proliferation risk. On March 30, 2010, U.S. Ambassador to Vietnam Michael Michalak and Vice Minister of Science and Technology Le Dinh Tien of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam signed a Memorandum of Understanding concerning cooperation in the Civil Nuclear Field. This MOU will open the door for increased cooperation in such areas as the development of human resources and safety and security infrastructure, access to reliable sources of nuclear fuel, and the management of radioactive waste and used fuel. Vietnam has demonstrated its commitment to the responsible expansion of nuclear power through careful steps taken in cooperation with the United States, among other international partners, towards the development of the robust nuclear infrastructure needed to oversee the deployment of its first nuclear power plants over the coming decades." (U.S. Department Of State; 30Mar10; Office of Spokesman) http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2010/03/139255.htm

Focus on safety of Pak[istan]'s n[uclear]-installation
"The safety of Pakistan's nuclear arsenal will be high on India's agenda when Prime Minister Manmohan Singh attends the Nuclear Security Summit which is in Washington from April 12 to 13. Sources said that Pakistan's participation in the summit was good as it would bring greater focus on the security of nuclear material in the region. The international community has expressed concerns about terror[ist] elements getting access to nuclear weapons in Pakistan. For India, the geographical proximity of Pakistan and cross border terrorism makes it a very real threat. India's permanent representative to the United Nations Disarmament Conference in Geneva Hamid Ali Rao in a statement to the conference pointed out this week that the threat of terrorists getting their hands on nuclear weapons is 'real.' Without referring to Pakistan, he said, 'The possibility of terrorists and extremist groups gaining access to nuclear materials is real and could have catastrophic consequences,' he said in his statement." (Economic Times; 02Apr10; Nirmala Ganapathy) http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/politics/nation/Focus-on-safety-of-Paks-N-installation/articleshow/5753331.cms

Thailand faces up to non-proliferation challenges
"U.S. President Barack Obama issued a last minute invitation to Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva recently to attend the Global Nuclear Summit in Washington DC scheduled on 12-13 April. [...] Since the crux of Obama's nuclear strategy is to secure the non-spreading of vulnerable nuclear materials and prevent acts of nuclear terrorism, Thailand's location in the continental Southeast Asia linking South and North East Asia becomes even more significant. Quite often illegal transport of components and parts of weapons of mass destruction pass through Thailand undetected. Back in June 2003, the seizure of cesium-137 in Surin was headlined in newspapers around the world as it demonstrated how this isotope, common found in medical and industrial equipment, could become an object of illicit trafficking and trading. Furthermore, Thailand has become a transit point for regional terrorist groups and the hub of illegal weapons trade. The seizure of arms shipments from North Korea in December at Don Mueang airport was a case in point. In this case, Thailand acted in compliance with relevant UN resolutions to prevent arms sales with North Korea. At the nuclear summit, Obama and Abhisit could hold a four-eye meeting to strengthen bilateral issues including the Thai-US cooperation in nuclear non-proliferation." (Nation (Thailand); 29Mar10; Kavi Chongkittavorn) http://www.nationmultimedia.com/home/2010/03/29/opinion/Thailand-faces-up-to-non-proliferation-challenges-30125790.html

U.S. embassy donates capacity-building equipment to Jordan Customs Department
"The American Embassy today presented Jordan Customs Department with a donation of equipment valued at $60,000 to deter, detect, and interdict the illicit smuggling of weapons of mass destruction, their related materials, and conventional weapons. Expressing appreciation for this contribution, Director General of Jordan Customs Department Major General Ghalib Al Sarayrah said the equipment will further boost Jordan Custom's capabilities to monitor and secure the country's borders. He also added that this significant donation demonstrates the strong and unique bilateral relationship between Jordan and the United States. The equipment was provided by the U.S. Department of State's Export Control and Related Border Security (EXBS) Program, which offers training and equipment to stem the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their delivery systems, and prevent irresponsible transfers of conventional weapons." (U.S. Embassy Amman, Jordan; 31Mar10) http://jordan.usembassy.gov/pr_cb_cust_033110.html

Remarks by U.S. Ambassador Richard E. Hoagland at ground-breaking ceremony for the Central Reference Laboratory
"High officials, honored guests, ladies and gentlemen: At the end of next week in Prague, the United States and the Russian Federation are expected to sign the post-START agreement that will further limit their nuclear warheads and delivery systems with stronger verification regimes, bringing the world one significant step closer to President Barack Obama's vision of ALL weapons-of-mass-destruction materials secured by 2012. What we are doing today - Kazakhstanis and Americans together - is an important element of that historic effort. Today, after long delay, we break ground to construct Kazakhstan's Central Reference Laboratory, funded by the U.S. Department of Defense, which will dramatically increase the security of Kazakhstan's collections of especially dangerous pathogens and strengthen the scientific capabilities of Kazakhstani and Central Asian scientists." (United States Diplomatic Mission to Kazakhstan; 30Mar10) http://kazakhstan.usembassy.gov/tr-03-30-10.html

Terror[ism] threat low, but S. Africa has to be ready
"As if South Africa's own high crime rate and the threat of European football hooligans weren't enough, World Cup planners are also bracing for a possible terror[ist] attack. Police have staged training simulations of chemical, biological and radiation attacks. Hospital workers have worked up plans in case of mass casualties. South African intelligence agents are tapping colleagues from around the world for information about possible threats. 'Terrorism is one of the evils that plague our world today,' Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa has said. 'Terrorists are prepared to kill and maim innocent people. This, we will not allow to happen on our home soil.' Big sporting events have a history of attracting those who want to draw attention to a cause or embarrass a government, and are willing to use violence to do so. [...] More recently and closer to home, the Togo team bus was attacked by gunmen in Angola and an assistant coach and spokesman were killed on Jan. 8, two days before the start of the African Cup of Nations football tournament. An Angolan separatist group has claimed responsibility. South Africa has no separatist movements and is no one's enemy, officials in the country stress. 'But because we are hosting 31 other nations, we cannot be complacent,' police spokesman Vish Naidoo said. 'We have prepared and planned for every eventuality.'" (USA Today; 30Mar10; Donna Bryson) http://www.usatoday.com/sports/soccer/2010-03-30-2307193680_x.htm

Report details progress in reducing global threat from dangerous weapons
"The annual report of the government's Global Threat Reduction Programme has been published this week recording progress made in reducing the global threat from dangerous nuclear, radiological, biological and chemical materials. The UK's Global Threat Reduction Programme forms a core part of the UK's Counter-Proliferation strategy, and delivers the UK's contribution to the Global Partnership against the spread of weapons and materials of mass destruction. Jointly owned by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the Ministry of Defence and the Department of Energy and Climate Change, the programme was launched as a ten year initiative in 2002, with an initial focus on addressing the Cold war nuclear, chemical and biological legacies in Russia. The seventh Annual Report on the UK's Global Threat Reduction Programme, published this week, details the work that is being done to prevent the spread of weapons and materials of mass destruction." (Defence Policy and Business; 30Mar10) http://www.mod.uk/DefenceInternet/DefenceNews/Def

Pentagon security undergoing 'complete reinvention'
"Three very alert officers were able to spot and thwart a gunman at the Pentagon in March, pretty much just by looking at him and realizing something was wrong. That's impressive enough. But now officials at the Department of Defense headquarters say, 'We can always do better.' The Pentagon Force Protection Agency is taking new steps to 'protect those who protect our nation,' including a five-year, multimillion-dollar project to upgrade technology, and a separate project to make the Arlington, Va., complex more 'WMD-proof' by installing sensors that can detect biological and chemical weapons. 'Really, it's a complete reinvention of security here at the Pentagon,' said PFPA [Pentagon Force Protection Agency] Director Steven Calvery in an interview with the Associated Press." (NBC Washington; 01Apr10; Ashley E. Brown) http://www.nbcwashington.com/news/local-beat/Pentagon-Security-Undergoing-Complete-Reinvention-89737787.html

Alhambra [CA] opens county's newest search and rescue training facility
"When the next big quake hits, local authorities will not have to wait for hours or days for search and rescue teams to drive from other parts of the county over what likely will be a fractured transportation system. That's the idea behind a new $1.2 million Urban Search and Rescue training facility now operating at the Alhambra Fire Department. The new training center, which officials formally dedicated Tuesday, will teach local first responders how to search in deep trenches, confined spaces and collapsed buildings, Alhambra fire Chief Bruce Stedman said. [...] The Alhambra training site will be one of just two in the country to have realistic 'hydraulic building-collapse props,' the chief said. A move to upgrade the nation's emergency capabilities began after state and federal commissions found inadequacies in response and training in the wake of the 9/11 terrorists attacks, officials said. Authorities also found, based on recommendations from the state's Seismic Safety Commission, that California needs more training of specialized units capable of responding not only to quakes and natural disasters but also to hazardous materials emergencies and those involving chemical weapons and other weapons of mass destruction, officials said." (San Gabriel Valley Tribune; 31Mar10; Daniel Tedford)

MTA [Metropolitan Transportation Authority] cuts weekend surveillance at vulnerable Verrazano Bridge, Queens-Midtown Tunnel [NY]
"It's eyes wide shut at two of the city's main bridges and tunnels. The MTA has removed weekend security details from the Queens Midtown Tunnel and the Verrazano Bridge, the Daily News learned Monday, just as the Moscow bombers sent New York into a new round of terror[ism] jitters. No longer do MTA Bridges and Tunnels cops man booths at the tunnel exit or on the bridge's two tower anchorages on Saturdays and Sundays. Instead, the MTA says it has a high-tech surveillance system of cameras and monitors. Security sources familiar with the bridge and tunnel say that is a mistake. 'What if a terrorist wants to do something?' said one source. 'People walk in all the time - drunk, lost, homeless, cars going the wrong way,' the source said of the tunnel's unguarded exit. 'God forbid someone walks in and wants to plant a bomb.'" (New York Daily News; 30Mar10; Rocco Parascandola) http://www.nydailynews.com/ny_local/2010/03/30/2010-03-30_fewer_eyes_protect_major_city_targets_mta_cuts_weekend_surveillance_at_vulnerabl.html

Responders join forces for training [Carlsbad, NM]
"In only a matter of hours, a telephone call to local emergency responders can escalate into a matter of national security. Coordinating with a specialized team from the Army National Guard, local police and firefighters ran through one such scenario in a training exercise at the Permian Basin Regional Training Center on Tuesday. 'This is to further ensure we are ready for an actual incident,' said Robert Sanchez of the Carlsbad Fire Department. He said the training exercise is designed 'to keep us refined and assure the community we're ready. It gives the citizens of Carlsbad peace of mind.' In the mock scenario, dispatch receives a report of a small boy experiencing resperatory problems. The Carlsbad Police Department [CPD] responds to find an armed man with a hostage barricaded in a fifth-floor apartment. The CPD Special Response Team storms the building, where they apprehend the gunman and locate a suspicious home-made laboratory." (Carlsbad Current-Argus; 30Mar10; Reid Wright)

Operation Safeguard keeps eye out for suspicious activity
"The communication between businesses and law enforcement is a part of Operation Safeguard, a statewide program that reaches out to industries that can be exploited by terrorists, telling them what to look for and which police agencies to call to report suspicious activity. Members of the state's Counter Terrorism Zone 6 -- which includes Otsego, Delaware, Chenango, Broome, Tioga, Tompkins and Cortland counties -- want to raise public awareness about the program, started in 2004. It covers more than 100 types of businesses, from beauty, military and agricultural suppliers to paintball facilities, hobby and tattoo shops, movable container companies and flight schools. Suspicious activities would include surveillance of an intended target, asking unusual questions, acquiring supplies and testing a facility's security, said state police Capt. James E. Barnes." (Press & Sun-Bulletin; 29Mar10; Jennifer Micale) http://www.pressconnects.com/article/20100326/NEWS01/3260387/1112/Operation-Safeguard-keeps-eye-out-for-suspicious-activity

Advisory panel urges renewal of U.S. biodefense efforts
"The National Biodefense Science Board today capped a hurried review by recommending that the federal government launch a major effort to better focus its activities to develop medical countermeasures (MCMs) for chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear (CBRN) threats, starting by choosing at least three new countermeasures for priority efforts. The recommendation was one of 23 in a 103-page report that the NBSB approved in a meeting this morning. The report is part of a comprehensive review of the national MCM efforts, ordered by Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius last December. The action was prompted in part by the initially slow deliveries of vaccine for pandemic H1N1 influenza. As part of the overall review, Dr. Nicole Lurie, HHS assistant secretary for preparedness and response (ASPR), asked the NBSB in late January to produce a written report by today on the issues and challenges facing what is known as the Public Health Emergency Medical Countermeasure Enterprise, or PHEMCE. The review included a workshop to review the strategic management, leadership, and accountability structure of the program." (Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy; 29Mar10; Robert Roos) http://www.cidrap.umn.edu/cidrap/content/bt/bioprep/news/mar2610nbsb.html

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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