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How Obama's Wmd Czar Survived Terror Himself

Earlier today I wrote in part about Obama's incoming WMD/nuclear terrorism "czar," Gary Samore. Overall he is highly regarded among his peers--with the caveat, as one source frets, that his "career has been focused on traditional state-centric proliferation threats like North Korea and Iran... [not] on the more tedious efforts to secure nuclear material." (That echoes a concern I've heard from others about the possible focus of the as-yet-undefined czar's job.)

But Samore has more than just an academic perspective on the toll of terrorism. This from the November 27 NYT:

Gary Samore, director of studies at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York, was staying at the Taj with his wife and daughter, squeezing in a family holiday in Mumbai alongside a lecture that he delivered earlier on Wednesday evening on the nuclear challenge facing the next president of the United States. They, too, stayed in their room and tried to stay calm.

The television was not working. He had no local phone. Friends kept him apprised of developments by sending e-mail messages to his BlackBerry. At 3:30 a.m., Mr. Samore recalled, very heavy gunfire began. The American Consulate called to say the hotel was on fire. The family collected their passports, made a set of wet towels to help them get through a smoky corridor and found their way to a service stairwell and then a second-floor terrace, from where they could summon Indian soldiers.

“My BlackBerry,” he said, “may have saved our lives.”

 --Michael Crowley