It’s a scenario that U.S. intelligence professionals and those tasked to protect New York City have worried about for years: Terrorists acquire the material for an atomic bomb and detonate it in the U.S.
“The likelihood of an atomic bomb is much less because the technology for nuclear detonation is complicated and requires some special elements,” says Michael Chertoff, the former secretary of the Department of Homeland Security.
He says assembling and deploying a so-called dirty bomb would be a lot easier for terrorists.
“A radiological bomb is nothing more than radioactive material imbedded in, or wrapped around a conventional explosive so that is a much easier type of device to construct and also to get the material for.
So, it is not a fanciful thing to focus on,” Chertoff says.