Some green things you just don't want to see coming your way. Like a literally green chlorine cloud. Or a figuratively "green" fuel (corn-ethanol) that unexpectedly encourages deforestation, provides farmers an incentive to plow up conservation reserve lands, and drives up food prices on a global scale. And now this: police adapting Greenpeace-style tactics - not what the chemical industry wanted to see coming.
Undercover police secretly set up a fake company to demonstrate how easily and anonymously a terrorist could purchase chlorine on the Internet for a deadly chemical strike against the city. A videotape - presented Wednesday at a briefing of private security executives - discloses for the first time the results of "Operation Green Cloud" - a reference to the yellow-green color of chlorine gas.
Apparently, New York City police did this after learning that chlorine has become a favored component of homemade bombs in Iraq. And they sent a copy of the taped results to the Dept of Homeland Security.
In the video, an intelligence detective describes how in June 2007 the department fabricated a water purification company, complete with a mailing address, Web site and a phony contract with the city to clean up a polluted creek in Brooklyn. Investigators, after using the Internet to identify local vendors, used a credit card to place an order with one unnamed firm for three 100-pound cylinders of chlorine.
No one ever asked for identification and the purchase required little human interaction, police said.