Thursday, April 12, 2007

DHS Investigating Chlorine Attacks

Just a brief note: DHS is investigating the Iraq chlorine attacks, GovExec reports:

Homeland Security Department officials are ramping up their efforts to prevent attacks that involve deadly chemicals, especially because insurgents in Iraq have increased their use of bombs laced with chlorine gas.

"We are literally analyzing the living daylights out of these attacks -- the people that are executing them, the agents that are used, the methods that are being used to detonate them and the impacts that they are having," said
Bob Stephan, the Homeland Security Department's assistant secretary for infrastructure protection. "And we are building lessons learned and case studies as these attacks continue to evolve."

National Infrastructure Advisory Council, which is comprised of members from private industry, academic institutions and state and local governments, has also made it a priority to complete a study on how the United States can prepare for and respond to chemical, biological or radiological attacks.

The study and associated recommendations are expected to be complete by October, council members said.
I'm a little uncertain about what this new study will do that others haven't done before. There is no shortage of information on CBRN attacks, and other groups (for example, the Gilmore Commission) have dealt with many of the same questions.

As for the
National Infrastructure Advisory Council, they are apparently finding it hard to find chemical industry representatives who are willing to share information with them. The level of trust isn't what it needs to be:
Council members on [April 11], however, noted some of the challenges they face in completing their study. The council is seeking experts who know what kinds of threats and vulnerabilities the chemical industry faces. The council also wants to ensure that information submitted by chemical facility owners and operators is protected from public disclosure.

"There's a general mistrust in industry of this kind of disclosure," said Erle Nye, the council's chairman emeritus.
Once again, we see the value of developing collaborative relationships based on trust.

Just one more thing, which is one of my pet peeves: DHS is not "literally analyzing the living daylights out of these attacks," unless they are actually managing to suck sunlight out of Iraq. It bugs me when people use the word "literally" when they're speaking figuratively.

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