In an era of doomsday scenarios, this is among the worst: Terrorists detonate a small nuclear weapon on Pennsylvania Avenue during the presidential inauguration. The president and vice president, congressional leaders and much of the outgoing Cabinet are killed in the blast, not to mention thousands of ordinary citizens. It is not immediately clear who is still alive — or who is in charge. Much of federal Washington is uninhabitable. Many agency leaders are dead. Federal employees who are still alive cannot get to their offices. The scenario, outlined in a report last year by the independent Continuity of Government Commission, is extreme. But commission members and other experts say it illustrates that, nearly three years after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks shut down agencies and threw Congress into temporary chaos, serious questions remain about the government’s ability to make crucial policy decisions and provide basic services after an attack. Full Story
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