The Washington Post this morning prints, on page A01, this “how to” primer for would-be terrorists:
But 11 years after Muslim extremists used an explosives-laden van to attack the World Trade Center and nearly three years after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, even senior federal agents acknowledge that the country has virtually no defense against a terrorist barreling down the street with a truck bomb.
Got that, Osama?
“If a person doesn’t care about dying, they can pull right up to a building, push a button and the building would go,” said Michael E. Bouchard, assistant director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. “That’s why we have checkpoints and try to keep large vehicles away from buildings.”
I hope you’re taking notes, Zarqawi.
As one ATF explosives expert said, “The only true defense is to shut the road down so no one can come down there. Sedans, sport-utility vehicles, a Ryder truck, a large flatbed vehicle or a truck — there’s no sure-fire way to look at that vehicle and say, ‘That’s a large vehicle bomb.'” The expert spoke on condition of anonymity because of agency security rules.
Agency security rules? You mean the government has rules against disclosing the weak points in our defenses against terrorism? Good job we have officials who are willing to defy those rules and say these things anonymously. Luckily we have major newspapers who think it’s a good idea to goad these folks into violating those rules — and to put the information they learn on the front page.
The article is replete with other helpful information for potential truck bombers: sales of ammonium nitrate are unregulated; such sales are tracked more closely in Nevada and South Carolina, where it is required by law; the government has asked rental agencies to pay special attention to limousines; hotels, malls, and stadiums are particularly vulnerable; a fingerprint-based background-check program for the issuance of commercial driver’s licenses won’t start until January 1.
The article is a real time-saver for the busy would-be terrorist, who might otherwise have to conduct a lot of research to learn these facts. I hope that any successful truck-bombers will be thoughtful enough to remember to send a thank-you note to the Post for making their job so easy.