Britain's Home Secretary couldn't be more direct. She said that the threat of of terrorists using a dirty bomb is, "...severe..."
Secretary Jacqui Smith made this assessment as her government launches a new and aggressive effort to combat terrorism that includes a much greater role for citizens. The new effort is described as "extremely broad ranging" and includes training 60,000 citizens in terrorism prevention and response.
Apparently new intelligence has raised concerns over the use of a chemical, biological or nuclear dirty bomb that could contaminate a wide area, endangering thousands, if not millions of people. British Government reports say that the dirty bomb threat is elevated because it has become easier for terrorists to obtain necessary materials from rogue and failed states, as well as from hospitals.
Ms. Smith warns, "Changing technology and the theft and smuggling of chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and explosive materials make this aspiration more realistic than it may have been in the recent past."
Britain's counter-terrorism forces have grown from 1,700 officers in 2003, to 3,000 in 2009.