The world is experiencing virulent outbreaks of Ebola and Islamist radicalism.
What if the two threats converge into one?
In June 2001 — a few months before the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks — a group of leading Democratic national security experts gathered at Andrews Air Force Base to carry out a national security exercise called Dark Winter. Hosted by the Johns Hopkins Center for Civilian Biodefense and the Center for Strategic and International Studies, Dark Winter simulated a biological attack on the United States in which terrorists release smallpox virus in three shopping malls in Oklahoma City, Philadelphia and Atlanta.
In the first few days, 1,000 people are infected and 300 die. According tothe exercise, “Most hospitals report grossly inadequate supplies and insufficient isolation rooms” (sound familiar?). Soon “Increasingly anxious crowds mob vaccination clinics,” and police and National Guard units are called in to suppress violence. The governor of Oklahoma closes all schools and cancels all public gatherings. Thanks to reluctance of drivers to make deliveries to affected areas, there are food shortages and panic buying. The attorney general prepares options for imposing martial law, including “prohibition of free assembly, a national travel ban, quarantine of certain areas, suspension of the writ of habeas corpus [i.e arrest without due process], and/or military trials in the event the court system becomes dysfunctional.” The unfolding chaos is documented in mock news broadcasts.