US not prepared for a nuclear terrorist attack
President Barack Obama, center, attends a briefing with Federal Emergency Management Agency administrator Craig Fugate, right, at the National Response Coordination Center at FEMA headquarters in Washington, on October, 28, 2012.
The US government is years away from preparing itself to handle a nuclear terrorist attack or a large-scale natural disaster, according to a new congressional report.
The federal government would need one to five years to develop a strategy to determine if people were exposed to dangerous levels of radiation in the event of a nuclear attack, a report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) has found.
The US government would also need five to 10 years to plan for a full medical response in the aftermath of a large-scale natural catastrophe, the GAO report said, which was obtained by The Associated Press before its release.
"This report makes clear that there are some areas of our country's preparedness that need strengthening up," said Sen. Bob Casey, (D-Pa.), who co-chairs the Senate Caucus on Weapons of Mass Destruction Terrorism.
The congressional audit found that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), which is tasked with coordinating the response to large-scale disasters, did not always keep track of safety efforts, hampering the preparedness of states even after Superstorm Sandy in 2012.
The investigation relied in part on internal documents from the Department of Homeland Security, which oversees FEMA.
The report comes one week after the US Congress approved a massive military spending bill worth more than half a trillion dollars, which includes billions of dollars for waging wars and developing nuclear weapons