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Investigators: Terror threat at chemical plants underestimated by government

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This April 18, 2013 file photo shows an aerial view of the remains of a fertilizer plant and an apartment complex to the left, destroyed by an explosion in West, Texas. The government has failed to inspect virtually all of the chemical facilities that it considers to be at high risk for a terror attack, numbering in the thousands, and has underestimated the threat to densely populated cities, congressional investigators say. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez, File) (The Associated Press)

Congressional investigators say the government is underestimating the threat of a chemical attack on America's densely populated cities and has failed to inspect virtually all of the chemical facilities that it considers particularly vulnerable to terrorists.

The investigation by Republican staff on the Senate Homeland Security Committee documents inspection delays and government errors in risk assessment in a $595 million terror prevention program. A copy of the report was obtained by The Associated Press.

Half of the 4,011 high-risk facilities on the Homeland Security Department's watch list are in 10 states. They are California, Texas, Ohio, Illinois, Pennsylvania, New York, North Carolina, Florida, Michigan and New Jersey.

Committee investigators say larger metropolitan regions such as Los Angeles, Chicago, New York and Philadelphia might be more vulnerable to an attack.