EILEEN SULLIVAN and SCOTT LINDLAW
April 28, 2008
WASHINGTON – As boating season approaches, the Bush administration wants to enlist the country’s 80 million recreational boaters to help reduce the chances that a small boat could deliver a nuclear or radiological bomb somewhere along the country’s 95,000 miles of coastline and inland waterways.
According to an April 23 intelligence assessment obtained by The Associated Press, “The use of a small boat as a weapon is likely to remain al-Qaida’s weapon of choice in the maritime environment, given its ease in arming and deploying, low cost, and record of success.”
While the United States has so far been spared this type of strike in its own waters, terrorists have used small boats to attack in other countries.
The millions of humble dinghies, fishing boats and smaller cargo ships that ply America’s waterways are not nationally regulated as they buzz around ports, oil tankers, power plants and other potential terrorist targets.
This could allow terrorists in small boats to carry out an attack similar to the USS Cole bombing, says Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Thad Allen. That 2000 attack killed 17 American sailors in Yemen when terrorists rammed a dinghy packed with explosives into the destroyer. “There is no intelligence right now that there’s a credible risk” of this type of attack, Allen says. “But the vulnerability is there.”
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This article was posted: Monday, April 28, 2008 at 8:13 am