Preparedness Against Terrorist Attacks, Hearing Before the Subcommittee on Oversight, Investigations and Emergency Management of the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, House of Representatives, One Hundred Sixth Congress, Second Session, April 6, 2000   [open pdf - 2MB]

From the opening statement of Fowler: "I want to just go back with a little history and set a basis for why we're here today. In looking back, in April, this very month, of 1915, the German army initiated the first large scale use of chemical gas as a weapon, by releasing thousands of cylinders of chlorine gas over a four mile front near Ypres, France. Over 5,000 unprepared French and Algerian troops were killed or wounded in that attack. Many more of them, terrified, deserted their trenches. Fortunately for the French, the Germans did not exploit this sudden break in the lines and the Allies learned some valuable lessons that helped them better prepare for future gas attacks. So here we are, 85 years later, and we live in a very different world, except the threat of a chemical attack has not changed. Today, civilians, not troops, may be at the greatest risk from a gas attack. And the battlefield is not some well defined war zone, it could be a shopping mall, an office building or the subway. And the threat is not just from chemicals, but from biological and radiological weapons as well. So at our first hearing that we had last June, we learned that this country is not prepared for a terrorist attack involving a weapon of mass destruction. More troubling, we learned that the Federal Government is engaged in a turf battle over trying to help people get prepared. In the process, then, we have fragmented and overlapping Federal programs that in some cases are making people more confused about what to do and when to do it. I vividly remember at our last hearing, Chicago's fire chief John Eversole, who's with us here today, too, and I want to quote from him, he said 'There is so much confusion and competition between Federal agencies that they are sometimes more interested in what they are doing than in what's getting done on the general end of it.'" Statements, letters, and materials submitted for the record include those of the following: Brett A. Burdick, James R. Clapper Jr., John M. Eversole, Michael P. Freeman, Robert Neal Fudge, Norman J. Rabkin, James L. Obserstar and James A. Traficant.

Report Number:
Serial No. 106-84
Public Domain
Retrieved From:
Government Printing Office, Federal Digital System: http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/
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