Justice Department Not Prepared to Deal with WMD Attack

Thursday, June 03, 2010
(graphid: Media Partners)

When it comes to gearing up for a potential chemical, biological or nuclear attack, the U.S. Department of Justice has its work cut out. A review of readiness plans for responding to weapons of mass destruction (WMD) threats found many of Justice’s key law enforcement operations weren’t ready at all, according to the department’s inspector general.

Other than the FBI, which apparently has its act together, those not prepared for a WMD attack include the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), the Drug Enforcement Administration, and the U.S. Marshals Service.
The fact that ATF was caught lagging behind on its plans was especially alarming because: a) it is the Justice Department’s “lead coordinator” for WMD situations, and; b) ATF officials were only “dimly aware” of this responsibility, according to The Washington Post. ATF officials defended themselves by pointing out that the 2011 federal budget will be the first in which the agency will be allocated funds to prepare a WMD operational plan.
-Noel Brinkerhoff
Audit: Justice Department Clueless on WMD Attack (by Jeff Stein, Washington Post)
Review of the Department’s Preparation to Respond to a WMD Incident (U.S. Department of Justice, Inspector General) (pdf)


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