BRITAIN and America will stage a mock al Qaeda-style terrorist attack on both sides of the Atlantic to test security.
Home Secretary David Blunkett flew to Washington yesterday to help plan the simultaneous exercise, set for next year.
It will be the first joint operation of its kind and follows Britain’s test of emergency services last September with a make-believe chemical attack on the London Underground.
Mr Blunkett says the idea is to highlight any gaps in anti-terrorist defences or responses.
He explained yesterday that computer simulations could only provide part of the picture.
“There are lots of desktop exercises going on all the time,” he said. “But we need to set up a proper exercise so we can see what would happen in reality. We have to be prepared. And the way to do that is with a fully-fledged operational exercise.”
Likely scenarios include a “dirty bomb” filled with radioactive material detonated during a city centre suicide attack.
Other possibilities include a chemical or biological atrocity; an assault on a nuclear plant; a cyber attack that paralyses vital computer systems and causes economic havoc; a bomb attack on a motorway by either a vehicle or light plane.
A Home Office spokeswoman said UK and US experts had been working together for some time on counter-terrorism measures. She added: “The aim is to ensure everything is in place at the highest level.”
-DURING his trip Mr Blunkett will also urge the US to join forces with Britain to shut down internet porn sites. The move comes after he met relatives of teacher Jane Longhurst – murdered by a pervert addicted to sex on the web.
-Suicide dirty bomb
-Chemical or biological weapon
-Assault on nuke plant
-Cyber attack to paralyse vital computers
-M-way attack with plane