Inspector Gen. Reports Says Justice Dept. and Its Other Agencies (Except for FBI) Not Prepared for Weapons of Mass Destruction Attack

gasoline fireBy Allan Lengel

WASHINGTON — The good news is that the FBI “has taken appropriate steps to prepare to respond to a potential” weapons of mass destruction (WMD) attack, according to a just released Justice Department’s Inspector General report.

Now the bad news: “We concluded that the Department of Justice as a whole and components within the Department have not implemented adequate WMD response plans,” the report  says. “As a result, the Department is not fully prepared to provide a coordinated response to a WMD incident.”

In other words, the American people are still more vulnerable than they should  be.

The report was particularly critical of ATF, which it says has been designated with coordinating the federal law enforcement response.

“We found that the Department and ATF have not fulfilled the Department’s role for coordinating the federal law enforcement response activities…For example, the Department and ATF have not made personnel assignments to manage these activities, and ATF has not developed a catalog of law enforcement resources – people and equipment – available to be deployed in the event of a WMD incident.”

ATF did not immediately respond for comment Tuesday.

The FBI, which has often taken a hit in previous Inspector General reports, comes out on top in this one.

“The FBI has developed various plans, handbooks, and other resources to guide its staff in responding to a WMD incident. Further, the FBI regularly provides its staff with training specific to WMD incidents,” the report said.

“The FBI provides WMD training for all new Special Agents during their initial FBI Academy training, and FBI WMD Coordinators and Intelligence Analysts are trained in specific WMD areas of emphasis. The FBI also provides training to a designated cadre of its Special Agents in Charge to serve as Senior Federal Law Enforcement Officials.”

“We found that no Department law enforcement component, other than the FBI, has specific WMD operational response plans, the report said. “ATF, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), and the United States Marshals Service (USMS) each have groups that manage all-hazards responses, but these groups do not include specific preparations for WMD incidents.”

To read full report click here.

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