Tuesday, April 24, 2007

U.S. Chlorine Tank Thefts

There are some eyebrow-raising developments in the chlorine-bomb threat. Nothing is certain, but the signs tend to point one way. From USA Today:

The Chlorine Institute, a trade group that represents more than 200 companies that make and distribute chlorine, recently alerted the FBI to several thefts or attempted thefts of 150-pound chlorine tanks from water treatment plants in California.
There is no intelligence indicating such an attack is imminent or that terrorists have stolen any chlorine from the nation's chemical or water treatment plants, which use chlorine to purify drinking water.
And yet...
Robert Stephan, Homeland Security's infrastructure protection chief, says department officials are briefing bomb squads, urging plants to tightly guard their chlorine supplies and sharing photographs of unexploded truck bombs with police chiefs.
This is the definition of a predictable surprise. The indications have been there for months. Local homeland security professionals would be wise to share information on this threat and ensure that stocks of chlorine (and other dangerous chemicals) are secured and that they're prepared to respond to any sort of chemical event.

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