IT used in terror exercise had mixed results

The post-action analysis of emergency responders' IT readiness generated mixed results in the recent Topoff2 simulated terrorist attacks on Chicago and Seattle, officials said.

Homeland Security secretary Tom Ridge acknowledged at a House Select Homeland Security Committee hearing today that federal officials in Seattle had provided varying information about the simulated radioactive plume from the mock radiological weapon released in Seattle.

Getting a model of the radiological plume took too long, Ridge said. 'We need to identify a single source in the federal government' to provide plume modeling.

Meanwhile officials in Chicago reported problems with local communication links via cellular phone and with emergency management officials in Washington, but Illinois' Hospital Health Alert Network functioned well, according to Tom Shaffer, spokesman for Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich.

The mock biological weapon release took place on Saturday, and 'people began to show up in the hospitals on Monday,' Shaffer said. 'We were able to identify it as plague by noon Tuesday,' he said, as a result of hospital admissions tracking via HHAN.

Monitors who tracked the progress of the simulated attacks will prepare a report for analysis in the months to come, officials said.

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