311_Eiffel Tower troops.
(photo credit: Associated Press)
Wikileaks released to the public another State Department cable on Monday revealing the US government's efforts to compile a list of potential global terror targets that, if attacked, could harm US national security.
The transmission cable describes a 2009 effort by State Department officials across the globe to ascertain the presence of sensitive infrastructure targets in their host countries and update a 2008 list of sites outside the US, "whose loss could critically impact the public health, economic security, and/or national and homeland security of the United States."
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The list was compiled as part of what is described by the cable as the National Infrastructure Protection Plan (NIPP) created by the US Department of Homeland Security to manage the protection of critical infrastructure under one US body.
Importantly, none of the targets gathered by the the State Department were under the control or management of any US agency and the cable explicitly ordered personnel not to seek host countries' assistance in identifying critical infrastructure targets.
According to the leaked cable, under the NIPP, targets from 18 different
sectors were ordered to be located, namely in the areas of agriculture and food;
defense industrial base; energy; healthcare and public health; national
monuments and icons; banking and finance; drinking water and water
treatment systems; chemical; commercial facilities; dams; emergency
services; commercial nuclear reactors, materials, and waste; information
technology; communications; postal and shipping; transportation and
systems; government facilities; and critical manufacturing.
Among the sites listed in the cable are the Straits of Hormuz, which
bridge the Persian Gulf and was the site of Iraq and Iran's Tanker
War in the 1980s that triggered a spike in the price of oil, and a
Haifa weapons development facility belonging to Israeli company Rafael. Outside the Middle East,
the diverse list of targets covers everything from mines in Africa to
vaccine facilities in France and undersea communication cables in
Australia and China.