debkafile Reports: US stages its first national security and air maneuvers simulating responses to terrorist and radiological “dirty bomb” attacks

TOPOFF 4 taking place between 15 and 20 October will set off fake radiological dispersal devices (RDD) or “dirty bombs” in Oregon and Arizona as well as Guam.
Vigilant Shield conducted by the Northern American Aerospace Defense Command will exercise its ability to mobilize resources for aerospace defense and control, maritime warning and coordination of air operations in a disaster area over North America.
TOPOFF 4, involving 15,000 participants from various US federal agencies as well as Australia, Canada and the UK, will combine with Vigilant Shield 2008, for a simulated war scenario with major domestic anti-terror drills.
debkafile‘s military sources report that Vigilant Shield will deploy a record number of US Air Force warplanes and spread over Canada and the Pacific island of Guam. It is described as resembling a wartime scenario more than an anti-terrorist drill.
US Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff has described the exercises as a realistic response to simulated attacks in a “period of increased risk.”
On Aug. 9, debkafile revealed an al Qaeda Web site warning mentioning New York, Los Angeles and Miami as targets of attacks “by means of trucks loaded with radioactive material.” A second warning added Washington, Seattle and Texas to those targets.
Our counter-terror sources note that the very fact that the United States is conducting exercises this month to test its homeland readiness for a “dirty bomb” threat shows that US security planners have taken the al Qaeda threat to heart. The war scale of the maneuver indicates that America is preparing for this menace to come possible from additional Middle East terror-related sources, such as Iran, Syria or Hizballah.
debkafile‘s US sources add that some critics of President George W. Bush’s Iraq and Iran policies are interpreting the two exercises as a dress rehearsal for possible retaliation for an American military strike against Iran. In other words, the US is preparing for Iran or Syria to respond by using radiological dispersal devices against American or allied targets, including Israel.
The insistence of American media that the Israeli air strike against Syria on Sept. 6 struck a Syrian-North Korean nuclear site attests to the suspicion gaining ground in Washington that Iran and/or Syria have acquired a stock of radioactive devices. In Israel, by contrast, there is no official reference to such a threat and no visible preparations. British premier Gordon Brown, answering questions in parliament and from correspondents Monday, Oct. 8, refused to say for certain that the UK would not join a US attack on Iran.

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