Now This Log

« 12 February 2003 « - Back Archives Next - » 14 February 2003 »

day permlink Thursday, 13 February 2003

permlink Dissipated?

What?: False Alarm? Alert Partly Based on Lies [ABC News]
The informant described a detailed plan that an al Qaeda cell operating in either Virginia or Detroit had developed a way to slip past airport scanners with dirty bombs encased in shoes, suitcases, or laptops, sources told ABCNEWS. The informant reportedly cited specific targets of government buildings and Christian or clerical centers.

"This piece of that puzzle turns out to be fabricated and therefore the reason for a lot of the alarm, particularly in Washington this week, has been dissipated after they found out that this information was not true," said Vince Cannistraro, former CIA counter-terrorism chief and ABCNEWS consultant.

It was only after the threat level was elevated to orange -- meaning high -- last week, that the informant was subjected to a polygraph test by the FBI, officials told ABCNEWS. "This person did not pass," said Cannistraro.

Despite the fabricated report, there are no plans to change the threat level. Officials said other intelligence has been validated and that the high level of precautions is fully warranted.
Oy. I haven't noticed "dissipated alarm" around here... permlink     1 comment(s)  
Why is it a problem to raise the threat level before giving the informant a polygraph? I think this is a good idea!
      ...posted by Pete on February 14, 2003 4:28 PM
Add a comment...

permlink FEMA preparedness guide

Federal Emergency Management Association: Are You Ready? A Guide to Citizen Preparedness. The page links to PDF chapters of a guide to being prepared for various extreme circumstances such as hurricanes, tornadoes, floods and more. Of current interest is its section on man-made hazards, containing a chapter on National Security Emergencies. permlink  

permlink Stupid Fox

Seen on the retail packaging of the X-Men 1.5 DVD by Twentieth Century Fox Home Video: a prominent sticker proclaiming an exclusive SNEAK PEAK of X-Men 2!

Repeat, that's Twentieth Century Fox Home Video. Not exactly an indie studio that can't afford a proofreader.

<shudder> I'd be ashamed to work there. permlink  

permlink new safari beta

New Safari beta (v60). Talking Points Memo now renders properly, and selected text appears to be draggable (though it takes a bit of practice). Woo. permlink  

permlink on safe rooms and duct tape

The Post has an interesting enumeration of measures people might have to take to respond to various attacks. While duct tape and plastic sheeting make for dramatic headlines, they're a minor priority compared to other measures:

Officials: Safe Room Is Not No. 1 Priority [Washington Post]
"I'm not going to tell people not to [prepare to construct a safe room], but there are so many other things that people have not done," said Randall Larsen, director of the private Anser Institute for Homeland Security... "Creating a communications plan, having an extra supply of important prescription drugs, getting a good supply of diapers or infant formula if you've got infants."

Staying in a room sealed in duct tape and plastic sheeting could provide significant protection if terrorists attacked with toxic chemicals -- by blowing up a tanker truck, for example -- because the plume could dissipate in as little as an hour. Plastic sheeting could provide an effective shield for at least that long, though remaining in a well-sealed room for longer than a few hours would be impossible because the oxygen would run out, public health specialists said.

But if a nuclear weapon or radiological "dirty bomb" were used, seeking refuge in a plastic- and tape-sealed upstairs room in a house would be a poor tactic for avoiding radiation. In that event, the best place to hole up is in the basement of a large building, a subway tunnel or an underground home cellar. Plastic sheeting would not help, and people could be advised to stay indoors for days -- or weeks in a nuclear blast.

Government officials acknowledged that they must communicate more clearly with the public about safe rooms. Under some terrorist attack scenarios, even those involving toxic chemicals, it would be ill-advised to flee into such a room. If terrorists sabotaged a chemical tank so that it released poisonous gas over several hours, the toxic plume likely would linger for a longer period than people could stay in the room, experts said.

For biological attacks, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.), a physician and public health expert, recommended in his recent book, When Every Moment Counts, that people have masks for each family member rated "N95" or better.
Sally Quinn also recommends a respirator mask (especially for Metro riders), among other things: We Can Do Better Than Duct Tape by Sally Quinn [Washington Post]
The government needs to tell the public that everyone should have an N95 mask (which costs $1) with them at all times.
Speaking as a DC Metro resident, this sure is distracting. permlink     1 comment(s)  
FYI - per Home Depot's website, an N95 mask is a toxic dust filtration mask that you wear when sanding painted surfaces. My guess is this is readily available at any hardware store. Given that I ride the L in Chicago every day to work, I'll be getting these over the weekend...
      ...posted by AmyK on February 13, 2003 10:04 PM
Add a comment...

« 12 February 2003 « - Back Next - » 14 February 2003 »

Home - Log - NowThis Consulting - Writing - Media - Links - About
© MCMXCVII-MMVI Steve Bogart