04 November 2011

Something you might want to know...


by Dixon Hill

I had originally intended to write about something else, this week. However, my attention was caught by a New York Times article. And, I'd like to take a moment to share some information with you.

Not long before 11 September 2001, I spotted a brief note on a network evening news broadcast about a national security exercise known as Dark Winter. Dark Winter was essentially a Bio-Terror Attack Drill, and the news story covering it lasted barely fifteen to thirty seconds. I don't recall ever having seen any other coverage of it -- until now.

Though the story was small in terms of broadcast time, its implications were enormous -- particularly given the fact that every terrorism expert I'd seen or read lately (back in the summer/early fall of 2001) had commented that it was not a question of if there would be a mass-casualty terrorist attack on US soil in the relatively near future; it was a question of when there would be one.

I find it interesting that many media and political figures seem to indicate there was no prior indication that something like 9/11 could take place. To me, in the months leading up to 9/11, the indications were everywhere and ominous (though not specific). And, I wasn't an intel analyst at the time; I was just a civilian who'd been out of the army for a few years but still enjoyed being a bit of a news junkie. Nor do I think there was some sort of conspiracy or cover-up concerning 9/11.

Now please don't think I'm claiming that I knew what was going to happen on 9/11.

I didn't.

Nor did I have any inkling that September 11th, 2001 would be a day unlike any other. My sense of shock and surprise, when it actually took place, were probably about as strong as yours.

As I remarked to a friend, later that day: "Here I am: the big bad ex-Green Beret, and the first time I see thousands of people killed at once, I'm watching it on television -- with my six-year-old daughter in my lap!" (For a change, I'm wasn't joking around.)

What I did know, was that a mass-casualty terrorist strike was something we should all be expecting. But what amazed me after it happened (and still does to this day) is how many people kept asking how "something like this" could happen.

Frankly, it made me a little angry at the time. Not at the folks who asked that question, but rather at the media, because they didn't do a better job of broadcasting the warnings that were being put out. The truth is: I knew to be concerned because I had a tendency to look for stories concerning military or terrorist operations. But, you really had to look for them -- for the most part -- or you wouldn't see them. I suspect that most media gatekeepers (newspaper editors, for instance) really didn't believe foreign terrorists would strike on US soil, so they either "spiked" that type of story, or ran very abbreviated versions -- such as the short segment I had seen about the Dark Winter exercise on the evening news.

Unfortunately, ten years later, it looks as if many of them still feel that way. At any rate, in my opinion, their behavior indicates they feel there won't be a repeat of 9/11 -- or something even worse. But, I still have a tendency to watch for stories like these; it's just my nature. So, if you click on the link below (It may be in red, instead of blue but should still work.), you'll be taken to a New York Times story that is very good (IMHO) and has information you might find worth knowing.

The story is quite in-depth, and covers events that transpired over a number of years. In fact, the writer covers Dark Winter, the exercise I mentioned near the opening of this article. But, he also unearths real concerns about US preparedness for Bio-Terrorist actions, and explains that sophisticated biological weaponry is no longer beyond the reach of terrorist organizations.

I'm not trying to frighten anyone, or to railroad anyone into some political agenda. Frankly, getting the federal government to do its best to protect us from Bio-Terror is something I'd rather not see politicized -- though, according to the NYT article, it may have been.

I believe, however, that we might all benefit if the information contained in the story were known by a large percentage of the populous. So far, however, I haven't run across anyone who's seen it. And, that is why I put it here.

If anyone objects, let me know. And -- Just so you don't worry: I don't intend to do this often (if ever again).

And now, to quote the great Rod Serling (He was a terrific writer, in case you don't know!): "Submitted for your approval..."

NY Times BioTerror Story

4 comments:

Leigh Lundin said...

As a world news junkie, local news doesn't much interest me but I haphazardly try to catch foreign newspapers. Although I hadn't seen your NY Times article, I agree, Dixon– clues were available. The year before, I read of a 'White House tea' in which one group of staffers tried unsuccessfully to impress upon a succeeding group of al Quaida risks.

There's a possibly apocryphal story about a Washington politician who said he wouldn't read Backhawk Down because he was too busy for novels. If only…!

Fran Rizer said...

Dixon, interesting, informative, and scary, but these are things we need to know.

Janice Law said...

You're right- we all should have taken note when someone tried to highjack a plane in France and hit the Eiffel tower.

Dixon Hill said...

Sorry I'm late getting online, this morning. Kids were running a little behind, getting off to school.

I've got pretty much the same take on the news that you do, Leigh -- lean more toward wanting to know what's going on in the international arena. That story about Black Hawk Down being percieved as a novel is priceless. lol

And,to Fran and Jan: Thanks for the positive response. I was a little worried about posting this. Afraid some people whould think I was trying to beat a political drum of some kind.

--Dix