Chemical Terrorism2005


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Chemical Terrorism2005

  1. 1. Chemical Terrorism Threat Assessment (2005) Presented to Cook County, IL Crime- Stoppers 2005 Annual Conference By C. L. Staten CEO and Sr. National Security Analyst Emergency Response & Research Institute © Copyright, 2005-6, Emergency Response & Research Institute and the author. All rights reserved. 2005- rights This presentation contains military and law enforcement sensitive information and should not be sensitive distributed to the general public. Contact ERRI/EmergencyNet News for more information about any News usage of this presentation.
  2. 2. 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 improvised (destructive) devices of all kinds.
  3. 3. 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 movements,quot; • -- insurgency operations, • -- terrorist attacks, • -- the use of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD), • -- 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.
  4. 4. Weapons of Mass Destruction (In approximate order of likelihood of use, according to current ERRI Assessments:) • Conventional Explosives • Chemical • Biological • Nuclear Are We Ready??
  5. 5. Weapons of Mass Destruction
  6. 6. 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.
  7. 7. 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.
  8. 8. 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 death. C. The latest, unconfirmed, report speculates that a nerve gas called Sarin may be the cause of the tragic occurrence.
  9. 9. 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 government. • 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 chemicals. • 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.
  10. 10. Indicators and Warnings II • 03 May 2005 - 09:00CDT Chemical Attack Plot Against U.S. Naval Base Being Examined • 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.
  11. 11. Who Will Be on the Front-Lines If A Chemical Attack Occurs In Your Town? • Your city’s police, firefighters, and EMS personnel will be probably be responsible for addressing the threat and mitigating the circumstances for at least 24 hours…
  12. 12. 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 million people. • 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.
  13. 13. Anticipated Threats...CW • Attacking or Sabotaging a Chemical Facility: 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 atmosphere.
  14. 14. Attacking or Sabotaging a Chemical Facility • 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 terrorist objective.
  15. 15. “Bucket Chemistry” • 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.
  16. 16. Don’t forget Improvised WMDs As Secondary Devices… • We should not forget the possibility that improvised devices of the future will contain chemical, biological, nuclear, or radiological materials materials. • May be used as primary or secondary devices • May be set to target first responders • 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.
  17. 17. Reactant Chemical Bomb • Although some of the material in this allegedly captured “jihadi” manual appears to be inaccurate (or even dangerous), 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)
  18. 18. What to Expect… • The latest ERRI assessment would suggest that the tactics/techniques/ materials 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 problems faced elsewhere…before they happen here.
  19. 19. Some Respectfully Suggested Solutions to the Problem -- I • Better HUMINT • Better analysis of the enemy and potential devices • Rapid dissemination of technical info. concerning WMD’s to the street/field (“technical bulletins”?) • Effective training and education of local response forces • “Mutual Aid/Multiple-Agency” Plans
  20. 20. 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 comments, questions, recommendations, suggestions and criticism.
  21. 21. The Face of the Future? • While we’re sure we all would hope and pray otherwise… • The possibility of catastrophic terrorism can not be dismissed at this time. • Therefore, the only rational decision is to engage in effective preparedness… • This is what we urge today.
  22. 22. ERRI Emergency Net News We Monitor the World for You! • More Information? EMERGENCY RESPONSE & RESEARCH INSTITUTE (ERRI) EmergencyNet News Service 6348 North Milwaukee Avenue - #312, Chicago, Illinois 60646, USA Voice/Voice Mail: 773-631-ERRI Fax: 773-631-4703 Internet E-Mail: Web Page: © Copyright, 2005-06, Emergency Response & Research Institute and the author. All rights reserved. This 2005- presentation contains military and law enforcement sensitive information and should not be distributed to the information general public. Contact ERRI/EmergencyNet News for more information about any usage of this information presentation.