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Barb Graff, Director

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Terrorism

Terrorism has been one of the major national concerns since the September 11th attacks. Seattle has been lucky enough to have never experienced a major attack, but we have had some close encounters. Is is difficult to judge whether Seattle is more or less likely to be targeted than other U.S. cities, but several factors may be important. For terror groups like Al Qaeda, the largest and most symbolic targets seem the most attractive. New York City, Los Angeles and Washington D.C. face a greater risk.

Domestic terrorism is another threat and Western Washington has experienced it. Luckily none of the incidents have been disaterous. The 1990's region saw several incidents related to extremist groups. In the Northwest radical environmental groups have attacked property, but have not caused any deaths. Since 2001, the number of incidents connected to domestic terrorism has decreased.

Major Incidents

Year

Event

Impacts

2006

Shooting

Gunman attacked the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle killing one and wounding five.

2001

ELF Arson at UW

The Earth Liberation Front attacked University of Washington Center for Urban Horticulture causing $7 million in damage.

1999

Ahmed Ressam

An Al Queda operative was caught smuggling bomb-making materials into the U.S. at Port Angeles in December. Worried that Seattle might be a target the New Year's celebration at Seattle Center was cancelled. It was later determined that the actual terrorist target was Los Angeles International Airport.

Issues to Note

Seattle is a major U.S. city with highly visible and symbolic targets. Seattle buildings have shown up on Al Queda target lists. It is a major port and economic hub. These features make it an attractive target.

After September 11th, 2001 Seattle received millions of dollars to boost anti-terrorism related activities. Three full-scale exercises have centered on terrorism response. Although no city can be said to be fully prepared for a massive attack, especially one using weapons of mass destruction, Seattle has improved its ability to cope.

Internet Worms and Viruses have not caused major impacts, but are a growing threat. Nationally, several have compromised critical information systems like 911 dispatch. Data theft and loss of private information is also a growing concern. The City has invested in information security programs to counter the threat.

On the Web

How to Prepare for Terrorism (PDF) - Information from the City of Seattle, King County and Washington State.

Ahmed Ressam's Millennium Plot - Chronlogy from PBS Frontline Documentary.


During an emergency, go to www.seattle.gov for the latest information.


Emergency:
Dial 911
Non-Emergency Police:
206-625-5011
Non-Emergency Fire:
206-386-1400


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