"The largest terrorism exercise since the 2001 attacks has pointed up severe gaps in the nation's ability to respond quickly and effectively," the Seattle Post-Intelligencer reports.
In Seattle, first responders descended on the site of the (simulated) dirty bomb explosion to rescue those injured by the simulated blast, only be told to leave the area because had there been a real explosion they, too, would have been exposed to radiation, officials said...Meanwhile, Chicago's health system was being pushed to the brink (by a mock outbreak of pneumonic plague). Hospital beds "are being diminished quickly," a Chicago area health official reported to federal health officials in Washington. One reason, officials said, was that there were not enough nurses in the metropolitan area to staff all the available facilities -- something officials said reflects a national problem.At least 2,400 Chicagoans were infected during the exercise.This happened, despite the fact that local, state, and federal agencies were given advanced warning of the timing and nature of the threats. What would have happened, had the attacks caught them off guard?THERE'S MORE: The Chicago Tribune has a preview of the day's simulated events.