Jeffrey LewisAre We Prepared for Nuclear Attack?

In a well-timed follow-up to yesterday’s post, Greg Gordon with McClatchy pens an expose on the lack of preparedness in the United States in the event of a terrorist detonation of a nuclear device:

“The United States is unprepared to mitigate the consequences of a nuclear attack,” Pentagon analyst John Brinkerhoff concluded in a July 31, 2005, draft of a confidential memo to the Joint Chiefs of Staff. “We were unable to find any group or office with a coherent approach to this very important aspect of homeland security. …

“This is a bad situation. The threat of a nuclear attack is real, and action is needed now to learn how to deal with one.”

That’s disappointing because “a 10-kiloton nuclear detonation in a large metropolitan area” is Scenario 1 among the 15 National Planning Scenarios. (Kinda makes you nervous about the prep for the ones lower on the list like, say, pandemic influenza, huh?)

Anyway, Cryptome has post the executive summaries of the scenarios, but the detailed appendices are not public.

A close look, however, at the video on the McClatchy website—created by the Departments of Defense and Energy—suggests the location of the 10 kt detonation in Washington occurs near the intersection of H and 17 th Streets.

So what institution at the core of our nation’s fabric do DOD and DOE imagine the terrorists will strike? The Pentagon? No other side of the Potomac. Congress? No, down Pennsylvania Ave. The White House? Close, but it will be mere collateral damage to the real target.

No, H & 17 th is home to that venerable and august body, The Metropolitan Club.

These terrorists are a wicked lot.

Update: Bill Arkin posted the scenarios online. As I expected the target location—38.9 N, 77.0392 W—is across the street from the Metropolitan Club. Perfidy!