Hard Targets: U.S. IDs Critical Sites - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

7/21/06

Hard Targets: U.S. IDs Critical Sites

The government has developed a list of the nation's most susceptible locations to terrorist attacks -- but only a few will be made public. The government has developed a list of the nation's most susceptible locations to terrorist attacks -- but only a few will be made public.
The Department of Homeland Security has developed a list of 600 of the nation's most important places to protect.  (AP Photo) The Department of Homeland Security has developed a list of 600 of the nation's most important places to protect. (AP Photo)
Last week Department of Homeland Security officials were mocked for having a terrorism target list of 77,000 sites that included an Indiana popcorn factory and an Alabama petting zoo.

But this morning, for the first time, the government confirmed it has developed a list of 600 of the nation's most important places to protect.

The list - completed only in the last year - is understandably stored at a secure operations center located within Homeland Security's headquarters.

George Foresman, the Department of Homeland Security's undersecretary, said, "It's [like] the types of places that movies are made of ... those types of things that if attacked would have a dramatic widespread impact."

Even though the government has declined to provide any specifics on this "most protected sites" list, ABC News has learned some of its details.

The first tier of the nation's 30 most critical sites includes the financial centers of Wall Street in New York and Charlotte, N.C. (home to many of the nation's major banks), nuclear power plants, dams, and major petrochemical plants, such as those found in New Jersey.

Other sites on the list of 600 include major seaports in Baltimore and Miami, and airports, such as LAX in Los Angeles.

In addition to major bridges and tunnels, large shopping centers figure on the list, including Minnesota's Mall of America.

But a question that begs an answer is, What took so long for Homeland Security to create such a list? It's been nearly five years since 9/11.

According to Randy Larsen, a homeland security analyst, "It was 10 years ago that President Clinton formed a commission, in 1996, to examine critical infrastructure in the United States."

Foresman said, "I think we find ourselves confronted with a wide range of issues ... for which there is no playbook."

Source: ABC News

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