Lest we forget amid partisan jockeying, domestic demonization, and heated foreign policy debates, here’s a report that serves as a reminder of a lingering threat — and the ease with which they could be carried out — in the early 21st century:
Canada’s spy agency says it is â€œquite surprisingâ€? that terrorists have not detonated a crude radioactive bomb, given the availability of materials and ease with which they could be made into a weapon.A newly released Canadian Security Intelligence Service study concludes a so-called dirty bomb is the most likely means of deliberately spreading deadly radiation.
But the CSIS study cautions that â€œa determined and resourceful terrorist groupâ€? could execute more elaborate forms of nuclear or radiological attack.
It says extremists could conceivably acquire an existing nuclear explosive device, fashion an improvised weapon from black-market material or sabotage a nuclear facility with the aim of triggering a radioactive release.
A copy of the October study was obtained by The Canadian Press under the Access to Information Act.
CSIS relies mainly on previously published research and analysis in assessing the threats, though brief passages were deemed too sensitive to disclose.
A dirty bomb is a real threat. At present it’s perceived by the general public in nearly the same manner as the pre-911 warnings that terrorists might one day hijack airplanes and fly them into planes as guided missiles: as a scary warning out there, but it hasn’t happened so there’s a good chance it never will. It did.
And, with info on the Internet, general information, and shadowy geopolitical alliances lurking in the corners of the world, it’s likely one day this will happen, too. The questions are: (a) where, (b) when and (c) how will the government respond and how will the public respond this time?
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—NOVA: Preparing For Terrorism (Key quote:â€œThe first-ever dirty bomb attack would be a dramatic event, I suspect, because people wouldn’t know quite what to make of it.â€?)