The Most Deadly Terror Attack That Has Not Happened Yet
It is hard to live in America today without being frequently reminded of just how dangerous a place the world is. According to National Priorities .org; “Every hour, taxpayers in the United States are paying $6.74 million for Homeland Security Since 9/11.” Our heightened awareness of the potential dangers of the world we live in has given us TSA screenings at the airport and a much more thorough inspection of all cargo coming into the country as well as much more online scrutiny. One would assume that we are much safer now than we were 20 years ago and this is undoubtedly true. But is there an avenue of attack left unprotected?
I, like many of you, have been thinking more about North Korea of late. In addition, I have been thinking about some old issues in new ways since we elected Donald Trump president because his views on those issues are so outside the established “norms” of the past. For me, this may be the best thing about the Trump Presidency to date.
For example, Trump’s views on illegal immigrants, especially those who enter the country through Mexico made me wonder how much of a problem it really was to our country. I mean, aren’t there worse things out there than trying to keep people out of the country who just want a better life for themselves and their families? I found my answer to that question when I came across an article from Judicialwatch.org that referenced findings by the DEA that show that most of the illegal drugs that enter the United States (heroin, methamphetamine and marijuana) come through Mexico.
Why then is Trump’s focus on keeping out people who want a job and not keeping out these illegal drugs? They are obviously not one and the same and even if you manage to keep out all the (basically) well intentioned job seekers you are not going to be able to keep out the drug smugglers with the same tactics. Unlike the job seekers the drug traffickers come armed and ready for a fight.
In the same article from Judicialwatch it is mentioned that the Mexican drug cartels are also known to be working with terrorist groups. Here is the exact quote from that story; “traffickers have joined forces with Middle Eastern terrorists to enter the U.S. Earlier this year Judicial Watch broke a story detailing how smugglers (“coyotes”) working for the Juárez Cartel help move ISIS terrorists through the desert and across the border between Santa Teresa and Sunland Park, New Mexico. To the east of El Paso and Ciudad Juárez, cartel-backed “coyotes” also smuggle ISIS terrorists through the porous border between Acala and Fort Hancock, Texas. JW’s high-level government sources say these specific areas were targeted for exploitation by ISIS because of their understaffed municipal and county police forces and the relative safe-havens the areas provide for the unchecked large-scale drug smuggling that was already ongoing.”.
Let that sink in. According to Judicialwatch ISIS is already in the United States and the government knows it. Has Trump mentioned this or the Mexican drug problem? Not that I am aware of. Instead he has the INS deporting families who have been in this country for years and (according to Reuters) threatening to separate mothers and children who are caught trying to cross the border.
Another interesting side note to this story is to consider where the drugs that come up from Mexico originate. While reading up on North Korea I learned that some of their main exports include or have included methamphetamine, heroin, counterfeit hundred dollar US bills and counterfeit prescription drugs like Oxycontin. According to the reports I have read the drugs go primarily from North Korea into China and from there to the world. So some of the illegal drugs coming to the US through Mexico may originate Asia and North Korea. With all of the talk about North Korean nukes and missiles we never seem to hear about their drug exports. I wonder why?
Illegal drugs, especially heroin and other opiates such as the new synthetics like Fentanil (out of China), are killing Americans every day. Here in Pennsylvania where I am currently located I see news reports of heroin related overdoses and deaths almost every day. Some are more horrible than others such as the case this past year where a couple overdosed and died in their home leaving their young child to starve to death as they lay there dead.
The CDC on this page says that in 2015, 13,000 Americans died of heroin overdoses. That is in one year and is more than 4 times the number of people who dies in the 911 attacks (2,996 people)! While it is true that drug trafficking and the resulting deaths are not the same as a terrorist attack what if they were combined? It is not that far fetched especially when you consider that the drug cartels are already working with terrorists according to the article from Judicialwatch I referenced above. What if the drug cartels and the ISIS terrorists they work with combined forces to stage a terror attack like none before?
How could they do it? Some sort of poison mixed in with the drugs that they bring into the United States would be the obvious answer. After all, illicit drugs are not properly inspected when they enter the country as are all other forms of cargo. They slip right past the huge and expensive security shield that we have in place. These drugs already kill more people every year than any terror attack on America has to date but since this killing is not the intended goal and is seen as a matter of personal choice then we are not unduly alarmed.
How many people might be affected by a terror attack based within illegal drugs (cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine)? According to this article about numbers of drug users in the Untied States from drugwarfacts.org it might be up to 20 million people.
Could a terrorist group pull off such an attack? Yes, the attack would go unnoticed for a while because of the already illicit nature of the delivery method but how long would it be before people stated dying from whatever they put in with the drugs and thereby raised an alarm. Of course people probably would be exposed to the drug and whatever it contained at many points along the distribution network. Dealers, sub dealers and users all tend to handle and often sample the product and if they all died it would bring the distribution effort to a halt.
Is there a substance that such hypothetical terrorists could use that would achieve their goal of killing people and yet postpone the dying long enough for their illicit drug delivery system to carry the substance to as many people as possible? Knowing nothing about poisons I Googled the question and found this page on listverse which describes some very toxic substances, several of which seem as though they could be used for exactly such a terror attack as this one and to be available enough to make it plausible.
My point in writing this article was to point out that, despite all of the money we have spent to be safer, some gaping holes still exist in our national security framework. These holes, if exploited by terrorists, could result in the biggest terrorist attack we have ever seen in terms of potential casualties and we are not even talking about it. Instead President Trump wants to focus on golf outings and separating illegal immigrant children from their mothers. Our leadership seems to be largely, perhaps fatally disconnected from the real world we live in.