Sunday, September 11, 2011

CFATS Knowledge Center Update for 9-11 Anniversary

The folks at DHS ISCD updated the CFATS Knowledge Center with a brief article outlining the potential threat of attacks on chemical facilities to coincide with the anniversary of the 9-11 attacks ten years ago. The Article (#1726) is a near duplicate of letters sent to CFATS facilities known to have theft/diversion COI. That letter was sent on September 9th, the same date this article appeared on the CFATS Knowledge Center.

The article/letter emphasizes that there are no known specific threats against chemical facilities. It does not focus on a physical attack against a facility so much as remind facilities of potential attempts of terrorists to gain access through theft or diversion of chemicals necessary to make a weapon (either chemical or explosive) to be used in an attack elsewhere.

Apparently the main difference between this article and actual letters sent to facilities is that the letters included contact information for the Regional and District Commanders (heads of the Chemical Facility Security Inspectors) responsible for that facility. If facilities had not yet been contacted for an official visit by CFSI the facility might not have had this contact information.

I think that the letters and the article are a good idea, especially since the letters provided important contact information. However the claim that this was even loosely related to the 9-11 anniversary is questionable at best. If terrorists were going to obtain chemical precursors for chemical weapons or IEDs for a 9-11 Anniversary attack, it would have been completed long before these letters went out.

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