Jewish World Review July 16, 2002 / 7 Menachem-Av, 5762
Is Homeland Security all wet?
In the first few months following September 11th, many of us were
wondering what the terrorists next target would be. Last September, John
Sullivan, chief engineer for the Boston Water & Sewer Commission and
president of the Association of Metropolitan Water Agencies, gave this
sober response: "There's no question that the water distribution system
is the most vulnerable spot we have."
Well, it only took seven months,
but now we learn from TIME magazine that the feds have alerted US water
utilities to prepare to defend against possible terrorist attacks on
pumping stations and pipes serving cities and suburbs.
Why the sudden water vigilance?
Turns out US military officials in Afghanistan found
documents showing that al-Qaeda has been researching ways to poison our
water supply on a massive scale. The real hole in water security involves
what engineers call "backflow"--where terrorists could reverse the flow of
water into a home or business (accomplished with a vacuum cleaner or
bicycle pump) and use the resulting "backflow" to pump poisons into a
local water distribution system.
Poisoning a reservoir isn't really
feasible, given the fact that most reservoirs hold between three and 30
million gallons of water, but creating a backflow "could spread highly
concentrated amounts of poison to a few thousand homes or businesses,
making the toxins far more effective," according to the Wall Street
Preventing future terror attacks requires outside-the-box,
proactive, creative thinking...just what you'll expect from a sprawling
new Department of Homeland Security, right?
Now that's scary.
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© 2002, Laura Ingraham