Bush orders contingency plans for
attack on U.S.
From the Washington Post
WASHINGTON President Bush issued a formal national
security directive Wednesday ordering agencies to
prepare contingency plans for a surprise,
"decapitating" attack on the federal government, and
assigned responsibility for coordinating such plans to
the White House.
The prospect of a nuclear bomb being detonated in
Washington without warning, whether smuggled in by
terrorists or a foreign government, has been cited by
many security analysts as a rising concern since the
Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.
The order makes explicit that the focus of federal
worst-case planning involves a covert nuclear attack
against the capital, in contrast with Cold War beliefs
that a long-range strike would be preceded by a notice
of minutes or hours as missiles were fueled and
"As a result of the asymmetric threat environment,
adequate warning of potential emergencies that could
pose a significant risk to the homeland might not be
available, and therefore all continuity planning shall
be based on the assumption that no such warning will be
received," states the 72-paragraph order.
The statement added, "Emphasis will be placed upon
geographic dispersion of leadership, staff, and
infrastructure in order to increase survivability and
maintain uninterrupted Government Functions."
After the 2001 attacks, Bush assigned about 100 senior
civilian managers to secretly rotate to locations
outside of Washington for weeks or months at a time to
ensure the nation's survival, a shadow government that
evolved based on long-standing "continuity of
Since then, other agencies including the Pentagon, the
office of the Director of National Intelligence and CIA
have taken steps to relocate facilities or key
functions outside of Washington, citing factors such as
economics or the importance of avoiding Beltway