Week of 6.30.06
More From This Week's Program: Toxic Transport | Top Hazardous Chemicals | Action Steps: Hazardous Materials Transport | Interview: Dangers in Transit | Railroad Workers Speak Out | Guantanamo Detainees Update
And the terrorists know it. American intelligence agencies have been aware for several years that Al-Qaeda is interested in targeting U.S. railroads. In 2002 the F.B.I. found photographs of U.S. railroad engines, cars and crossings in Al Qaeda's possession.
"I'm sorry to say since 9/11 we have essentially done nothing in this area," Richard Falkenrath, formerly one of President Bush's top advisers on homeland security, said in Senate testimony last year.
One of the military's top scientists, Jay Boris of the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory, told the Washington D.C. city council that in a worst-case scenario even more people would die.
"When the wind is in the right direction, a hundred thousand people could easily die. It might as well be nerve gas," he said. The U.S. Navy has worked on several simulations to demonstrate how chemicals would spread in major American cities in the event of a release.
Are we doing enough to keep our own hazardous chemicals from becoming weapons of mass destruction? America the Vulnerable. Next time on NOW.
Also This Week: Guantanamo Detainees Update
David Brancaccio sits down with John D. Hutson, who once served as a senior lawyer for the Navy, to talk about the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that the Bush administration does not have the authority to try terrorism suspects held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba by military tribunal. "This decision pulls a couple of rugs out from the Administration's prosecution of the war," Hutson tells David Brancaccio. "Basically, the court's saying, 'You've got to play by the rules.'" Read more
"Al-Qaeda was targeting the railway sector, including possible attacks on hazardous material containers," FBI Intelligence Warning, October 2002
Kathy Patterson, Washington D.C. Council Member, "The Terrorism Prevention in Hazardous Materials Transportation Emergency Act of 2005"
"Passenger Rail Security," Congressional Research Service, January 2006 [pdf]
"Current Issues in Rail Transportation of Hazardous Materials," House Rail Subcomitee Testimony on the Railroads, American Chemistry Council, June 13, 2006
American Association of Railroads: "Hazardous Materials Transport Overview" [pdf]
Statement of Edward R. Hamberger, President and C.E.O., Association of American Railroads, before the U.S. House of Representatives, June 13, 2006 [pdf]
Greenpeace: "Chemicals of Mass Destruction"