RealNews

Experts See Gains and Gaps in Planning for Terror Attack

With war under way and the government warning that America is at high risk of terrorist attacks with chemicals, germs or radiation, experts say the nation’s response capacity is greater than it was in the past, but still has significant gaps. “We’re better off than we were, but we’re not there yet,” Dr. William Schaffner said last week. He is chairman of the preventive medicine department at Vanderbilt University and one of the infectious disease experts who have advised the government about smallpox vaccination. Dr. Tara O’Toole, director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Civilian Biodefense Strategies, said: “We have done some useful things, as a nation and in states and some cities, to prepare for a bioterror attack. But I think people don’t appreciate the kind of scale of effort that is needed and has not been achieved. I think there is also an understandable reluctance to talk truthfully about how vulnerable we are, lest we encourage would-be terrorists and undermine our own defense. I don’t think we’re a lot less vulnerable now than we were in 2001.” But Dr. Julie L. Gerberding, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said her agency had markedly increased its preparedness level since Sept. 11. Full Story

OODA Analyst

OODA Analyst

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