Roughly 400 FBI agents and 300 city police officers were expected to participate in the drill, which involved using detection equipment to track down a mock dirty bomb concealed in a vehicle on the Clearview Expressway the New York Times reported. The fake device posed no threat to the public, officials said.
Authorities were expected to transfer the located weapon to Brooklyn's Lloyd Bennett Field and attempt to defuse the device. A true dirty bomb would incorporate explosives for dispersing radioactive material, causing panic and potentially rendering an area unsafe for habitation.
The timing of the drill might have been linked to the Obama administration's recent request to eliminate funding for a pilot program to protect New York City from nuclear and radiological terror threats, New York City Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly indicated (see GSN, May 15).
“The thing we are concerned about is the zeroing out of the Securing the Cities budget,” Kelly said. “It is very germane to the exercise tonight” (Simon Akam, New York Times, June 9).
A review of the operation is expected today and tomorrow, the New York Daily News reported (Karoliszyn/Weichselbaum, Daily News, June 10).
Meanwhile, Chinese counterterrorism forces near Beijing conducted a dirty bomb drill yesterday to help prepare for an Oct. 1 parade set to mark the 60th anniversary of the modern Chinese state, the South China Morning Post reported.
"Because of its political significance, the open-air environment (compared with gates and venues in stadiums), as well as the advancement of terrorists' weapons and equipment, I think the security level of this parade will be even tighter than for the  Olympic Games," said Cai Changjun, a counterterrorism expert with the People's Liberation Army National Defense University (see GSN, Aug. 8, 2008; Al Guo, South China Morning Post, June 10).