FAS Senior Fellow on State and Non-State Threats and GMU Adjunct Faculty member Charles Blair published a piece yesterday on the recent plot by suspected white supremacists to construct and use a radiological device. Discussing the seriousness of the threat, Blair states,
“However, much like this year’s troika of ricin-laced letters addressed to government facilities (including one to the CIA) and public officials (all three incidents targeted President Obama at his White House address), this most recent plot reveals the historical rarity and non-lethality of non-state actors and their behaviors with radiological weapons and agents. While the potential for catastrophe posed by terrorist use of chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear (CBRN) weapons deserves ongoing and serious attention, recent events remind us how public apprehension is sometimes founded more in fear than reality; indeed, reactions based on fear are capable of far more disruption than the physical reality of the event itself. The role of science-based organizations such as the Federation of American Scientists is to educate the public about the real risks.”
Read the full piece, “Radiological Ray Gun: More Buck Rogers Fantasy than Risk to Real People”, here.