Nuclear Weapons Stolen

Essay by EssaySwap ContributorHigh School, 12th grade February 2008

download word file, 2 pages 0.0

XXXXX DRUDGE REPORT XXXXX SUN MARCH 03, 2002 09:22:37 ET XXXXX OCTOBER BULLETIN SAID TERRORISTS THOUGHT TO HAVE 10 KILOTON NUCLEAR WEAPON TO BE SMUGGLED INTO NEW YORK CITY Sun Mar 03 2002 10:40:24 ET **TIME MAGAZINE** New York -- In October, an intelligence alert went out to a small number of government agencies, including the Energy Department's top-secret Nuclear Emergency Search Team, based in Nevada. The report said that terrorists were thought to have obtained a 10-kiloton nuclear weapon from the Russian arsenal, and planned to smuggle it into New York City, a special TIME magazine investigation reveals.

Publishing sources tell the DRUDGE REPORT, the next cover story of TIME will headline: "Can We Stop the Next 9/11?" The report hits newsstands Monday, March 4th.

MORE The source: a mercurial agent code-named DRAGONFIRE, who intelligence officials believed was of "undetermined" reliability, TIME reports. But DRAGONFIRE'S claim tracked with a report from a Russian general who believed his forces were missing a 10-kiloton device.

That made the DRAGONFIRE report alarming. So did this: detonated in lower Manhattan, a 10-kiloton bomb would kill some 100,000 civilians and irradiate 700,000 more, flattening everything in a half-mile diameter.

Counterterrorist investigators went on their highest state of alert, TIME reports. "It was brutal," a U.S. official told TIME.

It was also highly classified and closely guarded.

MORE Under the aegis of the White House's Counterterrorism Security Group, part of the National Security Council, the suspected nuke was kept secret so as not to panic the people of New York. Senior FBI officials were not in the loop. Former mayor Rudolph Giuliani says he was never told about the threat. In the end, the investigators found nothing, and concluded that DRAGONFIRE'S information was false. But few of them slept better.

Counterterrorism experts and government officials interviewed by TIME say that for all the relative calm since Sept. 11, America's luck will probably run out again, sooner or later. "It's going to be worse, and a lot of people are going to die," warns one U.S. counterterrorism official. "I don't think there's a damn thing we're going to be able to do about it." The DRUDGE REPORT has been briefed on other revelations coming from TIME's investigation: · The Coast Guard is arming itself against a possible terrorist attempt to destroy a major U.S. coastal city by detonating a tanker loaded with liquified natural gas.

· The Administration has recalled old CIA hands with experience in Central Asia. Says an Administration official: "You ended up going back to retirees because the bench was so light on Afghanistan. We're still trying to get up to speed." · This week, Tom Ridge's office plans to announce a new color-coded alert system to warn local law enforcement and the public about threats within U.S. borders, sources tell TIME.

· While there is a genuine debate inside the government about whether Osama bin Laden is still alive, there is far less argument about what will happen after Washington is able to confirm that he is dead. A U.S. official told TIME last week that it is widely presumed that al-Qaeda sleeper cells will take retaliatory action once the terrorist leader is killed or proven dead.

· "We're as vulnerable today as we were on 9/10 or 9/12," says presidential counselor Karen Hughes. "We just know more." Developing...