The scenario for this attack was drawn from an approved list of disaster situations maintained by the Department of Homeland Security, Sobieski said.
However, it is similar to a scenario Graham Allison, former Pentagon assistant secretary for plans and policy and current Harvard professor, describes in his 2004 book, "Nuclear Terrorism: The Ultimate Preventable Catastrophe."
A month after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, Allison wrote, the CIA presented President Bush with a report that al Qaeda had smuggled a 10-kiloton nuclear bomb into New York City. The president, according to the book, dispatched Nuclear Emergency Support Teams of scientists and engineers to New York to search for the weapon, which was never found.
Allison described the devastation that a 10-kiloton nuclear bomb would visit on Manhattan, were it detonated in the middle of historic Times Square, killing near 1 million people in a few moments.
"The resulting fireball and blast wave would destroy instantaneously the theater district, the New York Times building, Grand Central Terminal, and every other structure within a third of a mile to the point of detonation. The ensuring firestorm would engulf Rockefeller Center, Carnegie Hall, the Empire State Building, and Madison Square Garden, leaving a landscape resembling the World Trade Center site. From the United Nations headquarters on the East River and the Lincoln Tunnel under the Hudson River, to the Metropolitan Museum in the eighties and the Flatiron Building in the twenties, structures would remind one of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Office Building following the Oklahoma City Bombing," Allison wrote.
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