Sen. Joe Lieberman, in his capacity as chairman of the Senate's Homeland Security Committee, has assigned gloomy homework to 16 federal agencies, asking them for full descriptions of their preparations in case of a nuclear device detonating on U.S. soil. It's the nightmare scenario, terrorists importing a nuclear weapon and setting it off in an American city. So, the agencies will soon be receiving a letter from Lieberman and ranking Republican Sen. Susan Collins, asking them to answer a series of questions.
The purpose of the six questions, some in multiple parts, is "to assist the committee in determining the current state of the nation’s operational readiness to protect the people of the United States from nuclear terrorism and to carry out critical response missions in the event of the detonation of a nuclear device in the United States."
The letter also includes this cheery passage: "The effects of a nuclear attack on the United States are almost beyond comprehension. Even if we only consider the impact that a relatively small 10-kiloton nuclear device would have on a city center, the devastation would be catastrophic. From the epicenter of the blast to a distance of approximately one-third of a mile, every structure would be destroyed and virtually no one would be left alive."
"While our primary goal must be the prevention of such an attack," the letter points out, "we must also prepare for the eventuality that a determined terrorist may succeed despite our best efforts."
Just a big bowl of sweetness and light, that Holy Joe.