Nature of the Problem #1
• U.S. troops and
especially their leaders
must realize that they are
now fighting an
ideology… one that is
only being manifested by
devices of all kinds.
ERRI General Assessment of Threat
• The present ERRI assessment would
respectfully suggest that the near term
threat to Americans and our country's
security may bring:
• -- a confusing mix of quot;stateless actors,“
• -- separatist and fringe quot;independence
• -- insurgency operations,
• -- terrorist attacks,
• -- the use of Weapons of Mass Destruction
• -- Information Warfare (IW), and
• -- other unconventional tactics and threats.
The nature of our defense thinking, training,
weapons, equipment, intelligence operations,
and national emergency response systems
must be redefined and redirected in order to
meet these threats that are concurrently both
devolving and evolving.
Weapons of Mass Destruction
(In approximate order of likelihood of use,
according to current ERRI Assessments:)
• Conventional Explosives
Are We Ready??
Two Case Studies…
• Two of the more illustrative incidents
that we should study to gain a better
understanding of the potential threat
and consequence of chemical attack:
• (1) A 1984 release of methyl
isocyanate gas from a Union Carbide
pesticide plant in Bhopal, India, that
killed almost 4,000 people.
• (2) The March 19, 1995 terrorist
attack by the Shin-Rikyo (Supreme
Truth) cult that involved a Sarin gas
release in a Tokyo subway.
Bhopal, India MIC Release
• According to historical reports, Bhopal, India is the site of
the greatest industrial disaster in history. On the night of
December 23, 1984, a dangerous chemical reaction
occurred in the Union Carbide factory when a large
amount of water got into the MIC storage tank # 610.
• The leak was first detected by workers about 11:30 p.m.
when their eyes began to tear and burn. They informed
their supervisor, allegedly who failed to take action until it
was too late.
• In that time, a large amount -- about 40 tons of Methyl
Isocyanate (MIC) -- poured out of the tank for nearly two
hours and escaped into the air, spreading for eight
kilometers downwind, over a city of nearly 900,000.
• Thousands of people were killed (estimates ranging as
high as 4,000) in their sleep or as they fled in terror, and
hundreds of thousands remain injured or affected
(estimates range as high as 400,000) to this day.
Tokyo Subway Attack
• March 19, 1995 --Monday morning rush hour, in Tokyo, has
disintegrated into chaos, according to Japanese news and
government sources. Reports of toxic fumes in a subway
station began at approximately 08:17 a.m. (Tokyo time) and
quickly escalated into a major mass casualty incident.
According to the Tokyo Metropolitan Police, as many as
five-hundred sixty-five (565) people were hospitalized and
five people were confirmed dead.
• The exact nature of the chemical involved remained a
mystery at the time of this original report:
A. Initial reports, attributed to the Tokyo Fire Department, said
that the poisonous substance was acetonitrile, an
extremely toxic substance used as a fumigant and in metal
treatment and photo processing.
B. The next report, from the police department, said that there
two boxes that were believed to contain Methyl Cyanide,
also a very toxic chemical, that can cause rapid injury and
C. The latest, unconfirmed, report speculates that a nerve gas
called Sarin may be the cause of the tragic occurrence.
Recent Indicators and Warnings…
• AMMAN, Jordan: Jordanian authorities said Monday they have broken up an
alleged al Qaeda plot that would have unleashed a deadly cloud of chemicals
in the heart of Jordan's capital, Amman.
• The plot would have been more deadly than anything al Qaeda has done
before, including the September 11 attacks, according to the Jordanian
• Among the alleged targets were the U.S. Embassy, the Jordanian prime
minister's office and the headquarters of Jordanian intelligence.
• U.S. intelligence officials expressed caution about whether the chemicals
captured by Jordanian authorities were intended to create a quot;toxic cloudquot;
chemical weapon, but they said the large quantities involved were at a
minimum intended to create quot;massive explosions.quot;
• Officials said there is debate within the CIA and other U.S. agencies over
whether the plotters were planning to kill innocent people using toxic
• At issue is the presence of a large quantity of sulfuric acid among the tons of
chemicals seized by Jordanian authorities. Sulfuric acid can be used as a
blister agent, but it more commonly can increase the size of conventional
explosions, according to U.S. officials.
Indicators and Warnings II
• 03 May 2005 - 09:00CDT
Chemical Attack Plot Against U.S. Naval Base
• SPAIN: Al Qaeda was planning a chemical attack on
a US naval base, according to a report today in the
U.K.'s SkyNews. The Spanish newspaper ABC
claimed that an al Qaeda cell based in France was
plotting a blast at the base in Rota, southern Spain.
The information came from Algerian Said Arif, who
was extradited to France from Syria last year. The
paper said it did not know how the attack would be
carried out. Other details about the threat remain
sketchy at the time of this report.
Who Will Be on the Front-Lines If A
Chemical Attack Occurs In Your Town?
• Your city’s
will be probably
the threat and
for at least 24
Nature of the Problem II
• Security experts have recently warned members of
Congress that the United States must do more to protect
chemical plants from terrorist attack.
• The experts come from both the government and the
private sector and are concerned about the vulnerability of
chemical plants across the country.
• The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) says there
are 123 chemical plants in 24 states where a release of
dangerous chemicals could threaten more than one
• A federally-funded report last year found that nearly 75
percent of the chemical plants surveyed had taken some
steps to improve security since the 2001 terrorist attacks.
But the report also found that less than half of the
facilities had done much to improve communications or
emergency training in preparation for a possible attack.
• Attacking or Sabotaging a
A form of chemical terrorism,
that ERRI analysts would
anticipate in the future, is an
attack against or the
sabotage of a commercial
chemical facility that
produces, processes, or
stores a highly toxic
chemical, resulting in its
deliberate release into the
Attacking or Sabotaging a Chemical
• In any number of parts of the United
States, an innovative terrorist would
not even have to build a complicated
chemical release device. He/she could
simply wait for favorable weather
conditions and then sabotage or bomb
an already existing chemical plant and
allow the resulting toxic cloud to drift
into a populated area.
• Certainly, such an incident could be
expected to cause the maximum
amount of fear, trepidation, and
potential panic among the civilian
population...and thus achieve a major
• Another problem that faces
first responders is that of
identifying a mixture of
potentially reactive or toxic
materials. The task will likely
also involve trying to
understand the properties of
unknown chemicals that have
been mixed in unknown
quantities...A very difficult task
under normal conditions…let
alone during a terrorist attack.
Don’t forget Improvised WMDs As
• We should not forget the possibility
that improvised devices of the
future will contain chemical,
biological, nuclear, or radiological
• May be used as primary or
• May be set to target first
• It is one of the few ways that the
terrorists could potentially
increase the death toll of one of
their attacks…something that they
have vowed to do.
Reactant Chemical Bomb
• Although some of
the material in this
appears to be
the figure at right
appears to be a
workable model for
a hand-thrown 5.7 On Using Gases
improvised Two bottles each containing one of
chemical device. the reactants, are strapped together
and flung at the target area
Figure 6: Using gases
Source: The Mujahideen Poisons Handbook, “Abdel Aziz,”
(7 February 1996)
What to Expect…
• The latest ERRI assessment
would suggest that the
and methods of deployment
of all kinds of improvised
weapons being used in
other parts of the world will
eventually find their way to
the continental United
States. Therefore, it is
incumbent on military,
emergency service and
intelligence personnel to
gain an understanding of the
Some Respectfully Suggested
Solutions to the Problem -- I
• Better HUMINT
• Better analysis of the enemy and
• Rapid dissemination of technical info.
concerning WMD’s to the street/field
• Effective training and education of
local response forces
• “Mutual Aid/Multiple-Agency” Plans
It Ain’t Over…Until It’s Over…
• IOHO: This is not a problem
that is not going to go
away. It is a potentially
burgeoning issue that we
believe is “Coming to
America” and one that we
(collectively) must address
before it becomes the “life
and death” situation that
we have seen elsewhere…
• We welcome your
suggestions and criticism.
The Face of the Future?
• While we’re sure we
all would hope and
• The possibility of
terrorism can not be
dismissed at this
• Therefore, the only
rational decision is
to engage in
• This is what we urge