February 2, 2006

Pentagon team set to analyze nuclear attacks: Times

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Pentagon has formed a team to
analyze fallout from nuclear attacks on American soil in a bid
to identify the potential attackers, the New York Times
reported on its Web site on Thursday.

The report cites Michael K. Evenson, associate director for
operations at the Pentagon's Defense Threat Reduction Agency,
which directs the team, as saying the program began operations
last year. The objective of the program is to quickly determine
who exploded the device, in part to clarify options to strike
back, the Times reported.

The government also hopes terrorists would be less likely
to use a nuclear weapon if they know it can be traced.

The team would use tools including robots to gather
radioactive debris and other sensitive instruments to detect
the origins of a device and determine whether it was a true
atomic weapon or dirty bomb, which uses ordinary explosives to
spew radioactive materials.

"I'm very confident we can achieve what we set out to do,"
Evenson told the Times in an interview.

Evenson is to speak publicly about the program for the
first time on Thursday at a conference in Arlington, Virginia,
sponsored by the Institute for Defense and Government
Advancement, the newspaper reported.