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Monday, March 31, 2008
By Steven L. Taylor

Via the LAT: Vulnerable to terror: NYC, New Orleans and . . . Boise?

In a study funded by the Homeland Security Department, Idaho’s state capital was the only Western city in the top 10 among 132 urban centers ranked by vulnerability based on a unique mathematical calculation.

The top five seemed logical: big cities with exposed ports and bridges. The list reads like a who’s who of Eastern and Southern port cities: New Orleans; Baton Rouge, La.; Charleston, S.C.; New York City-Newark, N.J.; and Norfolk, Va.

Not a single West Coast city, from Seattle to San Diego, raised more than an eyebrow.

Juneau, Alaska, ranked least vulnerable.

Out West, at No. 10, stood landlocked Boise, population about 200,000, nicknamed the City of Trees.

Granted, this is not my expertise, but it is stuff like this that really makes me wonder about the efficacy of our domestic security analysis apparatus. While I have no doubt that there are items that are vulnerable in Boise (the story notes a major dam that, if destroyed or damaged, could wreak havoc on the area) but there are a lot of places in the US that, if attacked properly, could create great damage or harm to citizens.

In terms, however, of real probability of attack, and therefore as a question of where resources should go in terms of security, I have a hard time thinking that Boise, Idaho is really more likely to be attacked by terrorists than targets in places like Los Angeles and San Diego.

The index used to create the list looked at variables that I am not sure are as key to al qaeda-like attacks as the study itself assumes:

Scores depended on three main considerations: social demographics, natural hazards (floods, wildfires, earthquakes, extreme weather, etc.) and infrastructure vulnerability (roads, bridges, tunnels, ports, dams, skyscrapers, etc.).

It would seem that issues such as symbolic value and based logistics should be taken into account as well in making such a list. Still, all of this will probably mean more federal dollars for Idaho.

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4 Responses to “Terror Target: Boise”

  1. MSS Says:

    Of course, this has little to do with actual risk. However, since the Democrats retook Congress, these assessments have more to do with actual risk than they did before. (I have written about this three times over the last two and a half years.)

  2. Ratoe Says:

    Juneau, Alaska, ranked least vulnerable.

    This is probably because Ted Stevens has earmarked so much Homeland Security money to the state over the past few years.

  3. Jenda Says:

    Remember the first Indiana Jones film, where “top men” were working on the Ark?

  4. Matt Says:

    They could be seeking to gain intelligence on how to properly execute the lethal “statue of liberty” play…


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