If international terrorist organizations decided to infiltrate the United States, they would be virtually impossible to spot before they acted on their deadly agendas, according to a secret report compiled by a Defense Department task force last year.

There are 12 international terrorist groups, according to the report that direct their attacks primarily against American facilities and citizens. These groups have about 1,000 members. Should they all decide to enter the United States, says the secret report, they could easily merge with the 300 million people who legally enter the country each year. U.S. authorities would be hard-pressed to find that one bad apple in every 300,000 visitors.Even if a terrorist suspect is identified, he or she must then be followed by law enforcement officers. How difficult would that be? The classified report suggests an example: "How do you track one terrorist among the 3.6 million daily riders on the New York subway system?"

There would be no need for terrorists to bother bringing weapons into the country, thanks to America's wide open gun laws. The task force noted that arms "could be purchased from any of the 250,000 weapons or over 10,000 explosives dealers licensed in the United States." Each of the 1,000 potential terrorists could choose from a shopping list of 250,000 suppliers.

The task force report continues:

"Terrorists could choose from a supply of 250 million legal weapons and 500,000 machine guns - not including military weapons - in the United States. As an alternative, they could formulate their explosives from any of a large number of readily available materials. New guns are being sold in the U.S. at the rate of 5 million annually."

And where are terrorists who enter the United States likely to direct their diabolical efforts? "For maximum political impact," the report suggests, "terrorists could choose any of the 20,000 domestic or 45,000 world-wide daily airline flights." An alternative could be "any of the vast quantity of utility systems or government facilities located throughout the country."

- BELATED HELP - Not long after the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, we reported that the United States was withholding weapons from the Afghan resistance. The State Department worried about the diplomatic consequences of helping the guerrillas. Eventually, the United States began supplying arms, but the supply was inadequate. We reported that the rebels couldn't get the Stinger missiles they needed to clear the sky of helicopter gun ships. Last year, they belatedly started getting Stingers and almost overnight, the tide turned and the Soviets were forced to withdraw. The United States has since shipped Stingers to Angola with similar results. It looks as if the Soviets and Cubans understand Stingers better than diplomacy.

- MINI-EDITORIAL - Last month in Kenya, humankind once again proved its short-sightedness by killing the last five white rhinos living on public land. Poachers carrying guns attacked a national park headquarters and wounded park rangers before slaughtering the rhinos.