From 2005 with relevancy for today:
Nuclear and emergency preparedness experts, as well as federal reports, show that America has failed to brace itself adequately for a nuclear attack. This failing reveals something important about our human nature.
Human nature tends to forget about unpleasant realities. “Men stumble over the truth from time to time,” Winston Churchill said, “but most pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing happened.”
Nuclear warfare is one of those unpleasant realities. With the dark cloud of Cold War long passed, we want to believe the nuclear threat has evaporated with it. In truth, however, nuclear capability is now more decentralized and diffuse; nuclear material has proliferated; and we live in an age of terrorism. In short, the threat has never been greater.
The Robb-Silberman commission on wmd (http://www.wmd.gov) said, “[T]he intelligence community knows disturbingly little about the nuclear programs of many of the world’s most dangerous actors [including Iran and North Korea]. In some cases, it knows less now than it did 5 or 10 years ago.”
The 9/11 Commission reported that al Qaeda has been trying to get nuclear weapons for a decade and cited reports that Osama bin Laden wants to pull off a “Hiroshima.” Lee Hamilton, vice chairman of the commission, called nuclear terrorism “the greatest threat to the national security of the United States” (Meet the Press, nbc, May 29; emphasis mine). Porter Goss, who directs America’s Central Intelligence Agency, has said “it may only be a matter of time before al Qaeda or another group attempts to use chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear weapons” (New York Times, February 17).
Adm. James Loy, deputy secretary of Homeland Security, said that “several al Qaeda leaders believe operatives can pay their way into the country through Mexico and also believe illegal entry is more advantageous than legal entry for operational security reasons” (ibid.). This isn’t difficult to imagine, considering that an estimated 1 million illegal immigrants breach America’s porous southern border each year. Even terrorists have identified this route as an excellent way to attack the United States.
Shipping is another security hole just waiting to be exploited by a terrorist. The New York Times reported that the Department of Homeland Security has reduced inspections of inbound cargo from 36 foreign ports without confirming that security has been tightened (May 25). Only two of the world’s largest ports have completely installed equipment to detect radiation. Put simply, the U.S. often has no idea if the material coming from overseas is safe or not.
Plausibly, a nuclear weapon could already be on American soil in a terrorist’s hands.
Full article: Flat-Footed on Nuclear Terrorism (The Trumpet)