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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

U.S. Tests Its Bomb-Attack Response Plan

WASHINGTON -- Dozens of high-level officials joined in a White House drill Saturday to see how the government would respond if several cities were attacked simultaneously by bombs similar to those commonly used against U.S. troops in Iraq.

White House Homeland Security Adviser Fran Townsend presided over the three-hour exercise that brought the government's highest-level homeland security officials to the Eisenhower Executive Office Building next to the White House. All Cabinet agencies were represented by their secretaries or other high-ranking officials, with a total of about 90 participants, White House spokesman Scott Stanzel said

Stanzel said the drill revealed gaps where the government needed to work to improve its response but also showed progress since Hurricane Katrina exposed federal inadequacies when it devastated the Gulf Coast in 2005. For instance, coordination with state and local authorities and the ability to get federal resources in place quickly -- key missteps after Katrina -- appeared much better Saturday, Stanzel said.

President George W. Bush went on a bike ride not far from the White House on Saturday morning and did not take part in the test.

The Homeland Security Council mapped out in advance a huge disaster involving improvised explosive devices, or IEDs, detonating in 10 U.S. cities simultaneously, using a combination of large and small towns, a senior administration official said.