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nopoly. The more people are empowered to respond appropriately, the more secure we all will be.

As a local police chief once said: “You can’t build a fence around a community, but you can arm your citizens with knowledge.” Scientists, engineers, and the government must work to get good information into the hands of the media quickly during a cyber-, radiological, nuclear, chemical, or biological attack. We must all work together to determine the best way of doing that.

It is at our own risk that the technical community thinks of its homeland security responsibility as simply creating the latest counterterrorism technologies. They should also help empower the media, and thus the public, with knowledge. Ignorance and misinformation can be as damaging to the information infrastructure of a nation as a break in an oil pipeline. It can cause paralysis among citizens who are often the best first responders, confuse professionals trying to respond to a crisis, and help generate the fear that is the terrorists’ goal.

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