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Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Illegal immigrants accessed nuclear weapons facility

The Bushies want to continue keeping tabs on what you're reading, but they can't be bothered to make sure that security is tight when it comes to the most dangerous potential source of a terror attack--the WMD's right here in the USA. From CNN:
Sixteen illegal immigrants gained access last year to one of the most sensitive weapons sites in the country, according to a report issued Monday by the Department of Energy's inspector general.

The inspector general's investigation found the illegal immigrants were construction workers on jobs at the Y-12 National Security Complex near Knoxville, Tennessee.

The workers used "false documents" and "gained access to the ... site on multiple occasions," the report said.

The report details how the workers, apparently using fake green cards, were able to obtain access badges.
Several sensitive activities take place at the Y-12 plant, including the warehousing of enriched uranium and the dismantlement and storage of weapons. The site was being tested to see if it could defend against potential security incidents.
Combined with the fact that the security personnel at Oak Ridge have been cheating on their tests since the 1980's, it seems pretty obvious to me that "homeland security" has little to do with actually protecting us from deadly attacks, and a lot to do with keeping us scared and under control.

While it is certainly possible that a bomb could be smuggled into this country, "Sum of All Fears" style, the weaponry already in this country is far deadlier, both that which is intended as weaponry like the nukes at Oak Ridge, and that that isn't, like the numerous nuclear power plants and chemical plants all over the country.

The 9/11 hijackers (if that's what they were) didn't bring any weapons with them into this country--they just used what was already here. And they could have done far more damage by crashing into a nuclear power plant or Oak Ridge--a don't think that the US military could (or would) have stopped them, if they couldn't even protect their own headquarters. I don't want to be accused of giving terrorists ideas, so I won't go into specifics, but I think I could easily come up with a thousand ways to use what's already here to create a devastating terror attack. Something spectacular like 9/11 might be difficult, but an attack that would kill hundreds or thousands and/or create widespread panic would be frighteningly simple to pull off.

And the focus on Islamic terrorists is not only racist, but misguided. While the 1993 WTC attack and 9/11 were apparently the work of Middle Eastern terrorists, there have been many more acts committed by home-grown terrorists. Think of the black church in Birmingham and countless other Klan crimes--terrorism by any reasonable definition. The Unabomber. Eric Rudolph. The 2001 anthrax attacks. Disgruntled Gulf War veterans Timothy McVeigh, Terry Nichols and John Allen Muhammed. (And we're currently creating a huge new crop of disgruntled veterans.)

Even the climate of fear itself seems likely to generate more terror. There have already been bombings and attempted bombings of mosques, and the general paranoia caused by Patriot Acts and the like may send a few more people over the edge.

Terrorism is a bad thing. As a killer of Americans, it is a very minor thing--about as many Americans die on our highways each month as have been killed in all terrorist attacks in the last 20 years. I don't think that it's possible to completely prevent terrorist attacks, and the costs of trying to do so aren't worth it. But if I had to come up with a scheme to reduce the likelihood of another attack, this is what I'd do:
  1. Bring the troops home from Afghanistan, Iraq, Haiti, Colombia, Gitmo, and pretty much everywhere else, immediately. Make sure that they get all of the medical and psychological care that they need, and then some.
  2. Stop pissing off the rest of the world generally.
  3. Beef up security at Oak Ridge, other nuclear sites, large chemical plants and other facilities where an explosion could create massive casualties.
  4. Decommission all of these sites, carefully destroying the weapons and other materials that pose a threat.
  5. Chill out about terrorism, and start working on reducing the carnage on the highways.