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Archive for August 11th, 2004

NY Hiroshima

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Nice bit of news to hear today in Kristof’s column:

Graham Allison, a Harvard professor whose terrifying new book, “Nuclear Terrorism,” offers the example cited above, notes that he did not pluck it from thin air. He writes that on Oct. 11, 2001, exactly a month after 9/11, aides told President Bush that a C.I.A. source code-named Dragonfire had reported that Al Qaeda had obtained a 10-kiloton nuclear weapon and smuggled it into New York City.
The C.I.A. found the report plausible. The weapon had supposedly been stolen from Russia, which indeed has many 10-kiloton weapons. Russia is reported to have lost some of its nuclear materials, and Al Qaeda has mounted a determined effort to get or make such a weapon. And the C.I.A. had picked up Al Qaeda chatter about an “American Hiroshima.”
President Bush dispatched nuclear experts to New York to search for the weapon and sent Dick Cheney and other officials out of town to ensure the continuity of government in case a weapon exploded in Washington instead. But to avoid panic, the White House told no one in New York City, not even Mayor Rudy Giuliani.

I mean, I guess in retrospect they were right… panic etc… And, ultimately, there was no bomb. But also, ahem, a little cavalier sounding… Like if they get super credible information that somebody’s got a nuke in a parking lot somewhere in Manhattan during the RNC, they’ll just Saigon ’75 out the VIPs and cross their fingers???
Also interesting to know now in retrospect what was ultimately perhaps behind the general level of insane freakout we were all feeling back in Oct 2001.

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August 11, 2004 at 10:13 am

Posted in Current Affairs