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Homeland Security

Communicating in a Crisis

Keeping the public informed during a terrorist attack is the goal of a series of scenario-based workshops called "News and Terrorism: Communicating in a Crisis." As part of that series, the National Academies has prepared, in cooperation with the Department, fact sheets on five types of terrorist attacks.

Fact sheets on Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, and IED attacks offer clear, objective information on these types of attacks and their impact and dangers.


Fact Sheets

Biological Attacks

A biological attack is the intentional release of a pathogen (diseasecausing agent) or biotoxin (poisonous substance produced by a living organism) against humans, plants, or animals.

Read the Biological Attack Fact Sheet

Chemical Attacks

A chemical attack is the spreading of toxic chemicals with the intent to do harm.

Read the Chemical Attack Fact Sheet

IED Attacks

An improvised explosive device (IED) attack is the use of a "homemade" bomb and/or destructive device to destroy, incapacitate, harass, or distract. IEDs are used by criminals, vandals, terrorists, suicide bombers, and insurgents.

Read the IED Attack Fact Sheet

Nuclear Attacks

Unlike a "dirty bomb" which disperses radioactive material using conventional explosives, a nuclear attack is the use of a device that produces a nuclear explosion.

Read the Nuclear Attack Fact Sheet

Radiological Attacks

A radiological attack is the spreading of radioactive material with the intent to do harm.

Read the Radiological Attack Fact Sheet

Last Published Date: August 9, 2012
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