The FBI appears to be ready for a chemical, biological or radiological terrorist attack, but the rest of the Justice Department “is not prepared,” according to a blistering audit from the department’s inspector general reported by the Washington Post. IG Glenn Fine singled out the department’s Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives for particular scorn, suggesting that the bureau was only dimly aware that it had been designated Justice’s “lead coordinator” in responding to an attack with weapons of mass destruction.
The rationale for giving ATF, and not the FBI, the lead role was not explained in the report. “[W]e found that no Department law enforcement component, other than the FBI, has specific WMD operational response plans. ATF, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), and the United States Marshals Service (USMS) each have groups that manage all-hazards responses, but these groups do not include specific preparations for WMD incidents,” the inspector general said. Those agencies weren’t even curious about what the FBI was up to, the report said.