The Justice Department is not prepared to ensure public safety in the aftermath of an attack using weapons of mass destruction, the agency's inspector general said Tuesday in the latest warning about U.S. government readiness for a catastrophic terrorist event.
In the event of an attack by nuclear, biological or chemical weapons, the Justice Department is supposed to coordinate federal law enforcement activities and take over if the incident overwhelms state and local police, the report says. "We are totally unprepared,'" an unidentified Justice department official was quoted as saying in the report by the inspector general, the agency's internal watchdog. '"Right now, being totally effective would never happen. Everybody would be winging it.'"
The report praises the FBI for meeting planning requirements, but says the department as a whole and its other component law enforcement agencies have not. That includes the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives which is supposed to take the lead on public safety after an attack.