Voice from the Commonwealth
Commentary, World Views and Occasional Rants from a small 'l' libertarian in Massachussetts

"If ye love wealth greater than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest for freedom, go home and leave us in peace. We seek not your council nor your arms. Crouch down and lick the hand that feeds you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen." - Samuel Adams

Thursday, July 03, 2003

Jane's is reporting on another CIA investigation.

Al-Qaeda, and to a lesser extent other terrorist groups, are currently capable of conducting attacks with chemical, biological, radiological or even nuclear weapons, according to an internal CIA intelligence directorate report published in May 2003.

The CIA report, Terrorist CBRN: Materials and Effects, did not say where the Bush administration believes such an attack might be launched, but that it was "a high probability" that it would be in the next two years. The US assessment claims that any such CBRN attack would probably be "small-scale", incorporating relatively crude delivery means and easily produced or obtained chemicals, toxins or radiological substances.

Much of the evidence for these claims is drawn from documents, diagrams and other material found at around 40 sites in Afghanistan where Al-Qaeda operated training camps for its militants.

It has also been alleged by the CIA that Al-Qaeda was working with former scientists of the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission, Bashir Ud-din Mahmood and Abdul Majeed. These charges have been denied by Pakistani officials. Nevertheless, handwritten documents uncovered in Afghanistan suggest that Al-Qaeda's specialists did have nuclear physics and weaponisation knowledge that exceeded the type of information available via open and declassified sources.

The authors of the CIA report believed Al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups to be capable of making an "improvised nuclear device" that would be "intended to cause a yield-producing nuclear explosion". The report claims that the group's experts could make such a weapon with "diverted nuclear-weapons components", by modifying an already assembled nuclear weapon or by using a self-designed weapon.

< email | 7/03/2003 11:36:00 AM | link

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