Sunday, February 01, 2004

WaPo: Chemical and bioweapon attacks on planes

Flights Cut on Fear Of Al Qaeda Attacks (
Intelligence indicating that al Qaeda terrorists are seeking to release a chemical or biological agent aboard an airliner, or transport a radiological device in cargo, was one of the factors that prompted the cancellation of six international flights scheduled for today and tomorrow...

Small amounts of chemical, biological or radiological material would be difficult to detect...

Difficult being an understatement. I've long wondered why al Qaeda hadn't yet released a bioweapon or chemical agent on an airplane. It doesn't require any imagination, just a passing familiarity with movies. I've supposed that al Qaeda has indeed been very distrupted.

In 2001 there was talk of an accelerated program to develop chemical and bioweapon detectors that could be placed in public places and on airplanes. It's obvious one cannot prevent such an attack -- I don't think even Israel's El Al could do it. The goal needs to be early detection. I wonder what happened to those detectors? If there was a "Manhattan Project" to develop such detectors it was kept very secret -- so secret that they're not now available.

Maybe Rove felt such programs would generate negative vibes, and thereby impair someone's reelection.

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