Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Good News: Capitol Ill-Prepared for Attack

Why not just send out an invitation?
A future terrorist attack on the U.S. Capitol is highly probable, and Congress’s specialized bomb squad is unlikely to be able to deal with it, according to internal U.S. Capitol Police documents obtained by The Hill.

The unclassified internal letters and memos, written by Capitol Police captains, lieutenants, and sergeants between 2005 and 2007, detail more than three years of complaints to their superiors about the Hazardous Devices Unit’s lack of vehicles, its desire for more frequent training and the inadequate level of experience of bomb technicians within the specialty unit.

A suicide bombing or a car bomb are “the two major threats to the United States Capitol complex and the Congressional community,” according to a memo from mid-2006. While Washington, D.C., has not experienced the effects of such attacks, “the possibility that one of these two techniques may be used remains quite high and could become a reality.”

The 2006 document cited “intelligencce [sic] reports.”

Capitol Hill’s bomb squad, tasked with protecting lawmakers, their staffs and visiting dignitaries, is considered one of the premier hazardous device units in the country, and it responds to several hundred possible threats each year.

But morale in the unit has fallen because of several key issues raised in the internal letters, according to Capitol Police sources. They said the issues remain unresolved and could hamper the bomb squad’s ability to respond to an attack.

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