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Avoiding Armageddon
From the Experts

Voices from - Silent Killers: Poisons and Plagues
Dr. Ken Alibek
Dr. Leonard Cole
Dr. D.A. Henderson
Dr. Tara O'Toole
Dr. Amy Smithson

Voices from - Nuclear Nightmares: Losing Control

Voices from - The New Face of Terror: Upping the Ante

Voices from - Confronting Terrorism: Turning the Tide

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From the Experts WMD: A Primer Companion Book
Voices from "Silent Killers: Poisons and Plagues"

Dr. Amy Smithson

Dr. Amy Smithson is an expert on chemical and biological weapons, a senior associate at the Henry L. Stimson Center and director of the Chemical and Biological Weapons Nonproliferation Project there. She launched that project in 1993 to serve as an information clearinghouse, watchdog and problem solver for these issues. She has done extensive research on these topics, seeking ways to bridge the technical and policy communities in order to find innovative and practical recommendations that both communities can execute.

"You know, you can negotiate the best treaty imaginable, and in a certain sense, I think that's what the Chemical Weapons Convention is. It stands as the high-water mark of arms control. But quite frankly, at the end of the day, if member countries do not implement their obligations fully; if they don't enforce the law, then that treaty -- you know, it's only as good as the political will to implement it."
"If one's going to think like a terrorist, and their objective is to kill a lot of people, then you take the shortest point from point A to point B - the shortest route. And in that regard, we live in a country - in fact, all over the world there are chemical facilities that produce large quantities of chemicals that, if released, in an accident or in an incident of sabotage, could do a great deal of harm," said Dr. Smithson.
""Think about it. Why would a terrorist go to all the trouble to figure out how to scale up and manufacture sarin, when there are corollary chemicals in any number of facilities anywhere in the United States and literally around the world. I mean if your objective is to kill, are you gonna do it the hard way or the easy way? So, without getting too detailed, the fact is that suicide terrorists could have a field day right there," Dr. Smithson says. "But I also have to say that the chemical industry does take the security at these facilities seriously. And in the aftermath of the attacks of September 11th, 2001, they're taking it even more seriously."

   Read more about "Silent Killers: Poisons and Plagues" in the Episode Gallery.
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