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In the Search for Loose Nukes, a Little Propaganda Goes a Long Way

Author: Michael A. Levi, David M. Rubenstein Senior Fellow for Energy and the Environment and Director of the Maurice R. Greenberg Center for Geoeconomic Studies
October 23, 2007


Catching evildoers armed with nuclear devices is tougher than it sounds. True, unexploded nukes are radioactive, but not face-meltingly so. That makes 100 percent detection impossible. So instead of trying to find a perfect protection scheme (domed cities, anyone?), clever policymakers and technologists are developing a kind of Goldilocks strategy: Neither too much nor too little detection. These admittedly imperfect plans are designed to convince terrorists that even attempting a nuclear attack is futile. Put the ideas into action, the thinking goes, then deploy a smart PR strategy to let the would-be bombers know we’re onto ‘em —security wonks call it “strategic communication.” —Others call it propaganda.

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