Thursday, January 1, 2009

II. WHAT DO AMERICANS THINK ABOUT LIKELIHOOD OF A TERRORIST ATTACK INSIDE THE U.S.?

Declassified Secrets appreciates the feedback received from the Poll we ran. Here's some interesting conclusions:

POLL QUESTION: DO YOU THINK TERRORISTS WILL LAUNCH AN ATTACK INSIDE THE U.S. WITHIN ONE YEAR FROM TODAY (12/08)? IF SO, BY WHAT MEANS?

Yes- 27 (62% of respondents)
No- 12 (27% of respondents)

Chemical attack- 4 (9%)
Biological attack- 6 (13%)
Radiological "Dirty Bomb" attack- 3 (6%)
Traditional explosive attack (Dynamite, home-made or plastic explosives, C-4, etc.)- 19 (44%)
Nuclear attack- 0 (0%)
Cyber attack- 6 (13%)

POLL SUMMARY:
Forty-three people responded to the Declassified Secrets Poll: Do you think terrorists will launch an attack inside the U.S. within one year from today (12/08)? If so, by what means?

Results show that 62% of responders (R’s) believe we will be attacked within a one year time frame, while 27% do not believe we will be. Analyzing the responses of the 62% of R’s who believe an attack will come reveals the number one means of assault will be with traditional explosives (dynamite, home made or plastic explosives, C-4, etc.)-ranked at 44%. R‘s judged Cyber and biological strikes equally as the second most expected method- both ranked at 13%; chemical attack was their third supposed method- ranked at 9%; while a radiological or “dirty bomb“ offensive was ranked at 6%.





No R’s (0%) believe terrorists will detonate a nuclear device inside the U.S. within one year from 12/08.




This online poll has obvious flaws regarding representative sampling; i.e., too small of a sample (n) and unrepresentative sample (Visitors to this Blog only). It simply recorded how 43 online visitors to the Declassified Secrets Blog responded to the Poll question. However, I believe we can make some broad assumptions, conjectures that can be verified by further and more scientific polls:



A majority of Americans taking this particlular Declassified Secrets Poll believes we will be attacked by terrorists inside our borders within one year from 12/08. Note: Thise result differs from more scientific polls on the topic (See below).

A sizable minority believe we will not be attacked within one year.

Many believe traditional weapons will be used: dynamite, home-made bombs, plastique explosives, etc.



A substantial minority believe a biological or Cyber attack is imminent.

A bit about Cyber attacks: I feel that any combinations of the other types of attacks coupled with a Cyber attack is being contemplated by terrorists. Suppose they planned in detail a biological attack in America's heartland and released the biological agent via airplane over a large midwestern city at 3am. It's winter time with subzero temperatures. They simultaneously hit computer and telecommunication networks controlling critical infrastructures. Our electric and gas power systems would be shut down, while traffic control systems and financial systems would be disabled.






It could be a multiple Cyber strike, coming directly "through the wires" by faraway hackers, along with a physical assault by suicide car bombers, and by sleeper cell "moles" working inside our critical infrastructure computer systems, thus having ready access to them.

Such a biological attack would horrify millions. Essential services would be cut off: electricity, telephone, natural gas, gasoline pumps, cash registers, ATM machines, Internet transactions, dam and flood control computerized systems, primary telecommunications trunk circuits connecting America's heartland with other regions, air traffic control systems resulting in the grounding of all air traffic and diverting of inbound traffic, e-commerce and credit card service...the list is endless!



Few believe a chemical attack is imminent.





Even fewer believe a radioactive or “dirty bomb” will be used. Here's an excellent site on "dirty bombs:" ttp://www.jplabs.com/html/dirty_bomb.HTM




Practically none of the American public believe a nuclear device will be used within a year from 12/08.




DECLASSIFIED SECRET'S POLL DIFFERS FROM SCIENTIFIC POLLS:
According to the experts who conduct scientific polls, roughly 11% of Americans are “very worried” and 24 are “somewhat worried” about future terrorist attacks happening near their home or workplace (Opinion Dynamics research firm). This qualifier is much different than the DECLASSIFIED SECRETS Poll, stipulated inside the U.S. and within a year from today. Regardless, according to the Opinion Dynamics research firm, a majority of Americans are fairly unconcerned that their local area may be a target of future attacks. Indeed, 34% said they are “not very” and 30% say they’re “not at all” worried about a terrorist attack near their home or workplace.

So, if 64% aren’t concerned, why make changes? According to the research firm, 64% report they have made no changes in their lifestyle, while only 5% have made “major” lifestyle changes. Roughly 31% reported they’ve made “some minor” changes. So, 36% of Americans have made some plans and lifestyle changes in case of a terrorist attack, including:

  • Setting aside some cash (37%)
  • Identifying local emergency personnel (35%)
  • Stocking up on food & water (23%)
  • Planning an escape route (14%)
  • Purchasing a radiation monitor (2%)

"Americans seem to be settling into a rational preparedness mode taking the reasoned amount of precaution against future terrorist attacks, but not materially altering their day-to-day lives," stated Ernest Paicopolos, a principal of Opinion Dynamics.

Telephone calls in the evening to 900 registered voters reveal that a majority of Americans believe their local police and emergency authorities are prepared should an attack happen near them:

  • "Very well prepared” = 16%
  • “Somewhat prepared” = 41%
  • “Not very prepared” = 20%
  • “Not at all prepared” = 15%

FURTHER POLL FINDINGS:
Fewer people in the United States are concerned about their lives being suddenly affected by a terrorist attack:

  • 46 per cent of respondents believe neither side is winning the war on terrorism.

  • 32 per cent think the U.S. and its allies are emerging victorious, and 21 per cent say the terrorists are ahead.

Source: Opinion Research Corporation / CNN Methodology: Telephone interviews with 1,024 American adults, conducted from Dec. 6 to Dec. 9, 2007. Margin of error is 3 per cent.

ADDITIONAL FINDINGS:

It is doubtful that countries today possess biological weapons arsenals or would ever attack with such weapons. The threat has shifted to terrorists and other nonstate actors.

Countries should focus on preventing such groups from acquiring relevant technologies and materials, rather than on ensuring state compliance with Article 1 of the 1972 treaty which forbids states from developing, producing, stockpiling or acquiring biological agents not intended for peaceful uses. It also bans biological weapons delivery equipment.

The Soviet Union was believed to have operated a massive Cold War biological weapons program and arsenal of ICBM-deliverable biological warheads.

The United States invaded Iraq in 2003 largely on the argument that it possessed biological and chemical weapons stocks and programs.

The threat today is not necessarily states; the threat is nonstate actors, and nonstate actors don’t have the same inhibitions that states do about the prospect of using biological weapon

  • Personal opinions of Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Donald Mahley, longtime U.S. delegation head for Biological Weapons Convention activities.

Note: Visit the upper right-hand margin and view VIDEOS ON TERRORIST ATTACK INSIDE AMERICA and TODAY'S HEADLINES ABOUT WMD ATTACK INSIDE THE U.S.

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