19 June 2003 19:44 [Source: ICIS news]
PHILADELPHIA (CNI)--The US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) said Thursday that it "anticipates seeing more actual releases" in the US of chemical or biological weapons by terrorists.
Speaking at a session of the first annual Chemical Security Summit (CSS) here today, FBI Special Agent Troy Morgan said the bureau anticipates that further terrorist attacks in the US will most likely use "improvised explosive devices" (IEDs) such as stolen chemicals or other toxic substances.
He said FBI officials are not greatly concerned about the possible appearance in the US of military grade chemical weapons, noting that it would be far easier for a terrorist group operating in this country to attack a railroad tank car carrying chemicals than to obtain a military-grade chemical weapon.
Morgan told chemical executives attending a special security session of the CSS that terrorists also are more likely to choose a toxic industrial chemical for use as a weapon "simply because such products can be purchased."
He advised chemical company executives to immediately contact their local FBI office if they encounter anything suspicious in or around their facilities or in their dealings with customers and suppliers.
Morgan cautioned chemicals manufacturers to remain alert to unusual behaviour among their existing customers or from new customers.
"A red flag should go up for you if a customer is reluctant to answer common questions about the purpose for which a quantity of chemicals is being purchased," Morgan said, "or if they express no concern about particular technical aspects of the product."
He also cautioned producers to be suspicious of purchases being paid by credit card or requests for unusual labelling or shipping requirements.
Morgan said the FBI's expectations of further terrorist attacks in the US also envision possible releases of toxins or radioactive materials. However, he said the prospect of terrorist use of a nuclear device of some kind in the US appears remote.
He said the bureau's anticipation of "more actual releases" of materials meant to cause mass casualties is "based on the pattern of intelligence that has been coming in" since the September 2001 terrorist attacks in New York City and Washington, DC.
He said the bureau expects that further attacks are more likely to be the work of foreign terrorist organisations rather than domestic terrorist groups.
Morgan emphasised that the FBI's primary focus is to detect and deter a potential terrorist act before it can be carried out, and in that context the bureau needs the cooperation of industry.
He also urged chemicals manufacturers to contact the FBI if they suspect that their online systems have been penetrated or that information about their products has somehow been compromised.
Co-sponsored by the Synthetic Organic Chemical Manufacturers Association (Socma) and the American Chemistry Council (ACC), the three-day CSS concluded here today.
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