Thursday, March 17, 2005

Homeland Security

The threat advisory on the the US Department of Homeland Security website currently reads "Elevated: Significant Risk of Terrorist Attacks". This sounds ominous although it's worth noting that this is a yellow alert, the 3rd level in a series of 5. It is an improvement over the orange alert which was in force in many places until 10th November 2004. Only the most cynical type of person would think that there was a political motivation behind the date for this reduction in the threat level but I digress.

The New York Times has reported that the Department of Homeland Security has produced a list of 15 possible security threats to the US mainland. The article is entitled U.S. Report Lists Possibilities for Terrorist Attacks and Likely Toll. It is a good (free) article. There is a link in the sidebar to the 15 key threats which have been identified. The NYT report states that this information was accidentally released on a Hawaii government website.
The Seattle Times also reported the story as did the BBC.

In some sense it is difficult to see how the publication of this list is good for US security. One can imagine a potential terrorist reading this list. He might say to his associates "Hey guys, number 13 looks achievable. Lets try that." It could be argued that it is a terrorist training aid.

It is difficult to write this without sounding like I'm making light of terrorist attacks but I'm not doing that. I watched the news reports of the 9/11 attacks and felt sick and horrified just as every other decent person did. The point is that I don't believe Mr Bush and his neo-conservative colleagues are behaving in a way which helps to ensure the safety of the US homeland.

Today's dictionary word is scaremonger.

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