After The Beep, Exit The Premises
The Customs Service has purchased pagers designed to detect a “dirty bomb” for all its officers and the devices have been used at a number of events, including New Year’s Day celebrations, the Super Bowl, and the Rose Bowl.
However, the pagers, which cost between $1,500 to $2,500 each, may not work for all types of dirty bombs and sometimes signal false alarms. Nevertheless, many local law enforcement and emergency-response agencies are eager to acquire the pagers, especially given al-Qaida’s threat to explode a dirty bomb in the United States.
The pagers were mostly only used by bomb-squad personnel near the end of the last decade, but concerns about detonation of a dirty bomb peaked following Sept. 11. A dirty bomb can cause cancer to those in close proximity of its explosion and make an area off limits to humans for years.
Joseph Cirincione of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace believes terrorists could easily acquire the radioactive material for detonation of a dirty bomb in the United States, but experts disagree about the likelihood of this occurring.
Abstracted by the National Law Enforcement and Corrections Technology Center(NLECTC) from Wired (05/04); Dotinga, Randy .