- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 9, 2001

Dreaded 'sleepers'
The number of persons, as of yesterday, arrested or detained in the U.S. since Sept. 11 by federal law enforcement agencies on suspicion of terrorism: 614
Number of persons still being sought: 229

Who would've thought?
At 10 a.m. on the morning of Sept. 11, as America was coming under terrorist attack, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission went to its highest level of security.
First activated was the Emergency Operations Center at NRC's Washington headquarters, quickly assembling a team of top officials and specialists to protect the nation's nuclear-power plants and nuclear-fuel facilities. Identical emergency procedures were activated in each of the NRC's four regional offices.
At the same time, the NRC established emergency communications with the FBI NRC personnel were immediately dispatched to the FBI's Strategic Information Operations Center the Department of Energy, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Close communications were also established with nuclear regulators in Canada and Mexico.
Of utmost concern, given the unfolding atrocities of the morning, was the unthinkable a large commercial airliner being intentionally crashed into a nuclear-power plant. It is so incomprehensible that NRC officials now acknowledge that nuclear-power plants were not designed to withstand such a crash.
"Nuclear-power plants have inherent capability to protect public health and safety through such features as robust containment buildings, redundant safety systems, and highly trained operators," the NRC informs us. "They are among the most hardened structures in the country and are designed to withstand extreme events, such as hurricanes, tornadoes and earthquakes.
"However, the NRC did not specifically contemplate attacks by aircraft such as Boeing 757s or 767s, and nuclear-power plants were not designed to withstand such crashes. Detailed engineering analyses of a large airliner crash have not yet been performed."
And if a large aircraft were to crash into one of the country's spent-fuel storage casks?
"The capacity of spent-fuel dry storage casks to withstand a crash by a large commercial aircraft has not been analyzed," the NRC says. After all, there has "never been an attack" on a U.S. nuclear facility or storage area before.
"On very rare occasions, there have been intrusions," the commission notes. "For example, there was a 1993 car crash through the gates of Three Mile Island plant by an individual with a history of treatment for mental illness."
Yesterday, Attorney General John Ashcroft announced that physical security is being beefed up in and around all of the nation's nuclear facilities, with "thorough screening" of all employees and individuals with access to those areas.

Live, from New York
Dave Boyer, this newspaper's chief congressional correspondent, thought he would heed Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani's plea to spend money in New York City and, at the same time, escape Capitol Hill by attending the Broadway musical "The Producers" on Saturday night.
Wouldn't you know, several members of Congress had the same idea.
Seated around him in the audience of the St. James Theater were Sens. Richard C. Shelby, Alabama Republican; Robert G. Torricelli, New Jersey Democrat; and John Kerry, Massachusetts Democrat. All three senators had seats in the first five rows of the orchestra section for the hottest ticket on Broadway.
It wasn't completely a Washington crowd, however. Lifestyle queen Martha Stewart also came out that evening to support Broadway.

Cowboy's compliment
Hitting bookstores on Oct. 16 is "The No-Spin Zone: Confrontations with the Powerful and Famous in America" (Broadway Books, $24.95) by Bill O'Reilly, host of "The O'Reilly Factor" on the Fox News Channel.
Our favorite passage is when Mr. O'Reilly confronts CBS Evening News anchor Dan Rather on his network's investigative digging or lack thereof around the Clinton White House.
For that matter, wondered Mr. O'Reilly, why were CBS, NBC, ABC and CNN collectively "almost passive" when it came to investigating President Clinton's myriad shenanigans.
"I don't think that's right," Mr. Rather countered.
"Well, where did you guys break any stories?" Mr. O'Reilly asked.
"Well, I don't know the answer to that question," Mr. Rather replied. "I compliment you if you had them first. Tip of the Stetson to you."

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