On the heels of the US Intelligence Community (IC), Congress’ WMD Commission, assessments by former IC WMD counterterrorists [see the January Homeland Security Today report, The WMD Connection], and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton having all said that they consider weapons of mass destruction (WMD) in the hands of terrorists to be the most serious threat faced by the US (even more serious than the threat posed by a nuclear-armed Iran), Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad claimed today that Iran has successfully produced highly enriched uranium (HEU). HEU that could be used in atomic warheads.
This is HEU that, given Iran’s notorious bonds to terrorism, possibly could find its way into the hands of terrorists, including the Iranian created and controlled Hezbollah, which both the IC and Defense Department fear would be unleashed against the West in the event of either a US or Israeli strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities.
Authorities on the terrorist group, which has a long established infrastructure in the US and throughout Central and South America, said Iran’s spiritual rulers “probably wouldn’t hesitate to set Hezbollah loose against us in response to an attack on their nuclear sites,” one of the authorities said.
“The biggest nightmare that many of us have is that one of these terrorist member organizations within this syndicate of terror will get their hands on a weapon of mass destruction,” Clinton said.
In referring to Al Qaeda specifically, who she said remains bent on acquiring WMDs to attack the US, Clinton reiterated what other WMD counterterrorists told Homeland Security Today, and that is there “unfortunately [is] a very committed, clever, diabolical group of terrorists who are always looking for weaknesses and openings.”
Upping the ante of a rogue Islamist state ideologically committed to the destruction of Infidels and apostate Muslim nations, Ahmadinejad declared Thursday that his country is now a “nuclear state.”
“A nuclear state now capable of proliferating both HEU and bomb-making technologies to terrorists,” a former senior IC counterterrorist stressed to HSToday.us.
A threat that has just increased the risk of Al Qaeda being able to acquire appropriate materials to construct a nuclear bomb.
“Al Qaeda now has another potential direct route to fissile material; the other is Pakistan, where we know there are a number of dangerous things happening: growing anti-American sentiment, including within the intelligence service and military, and attacks on Pak nuke sites and problems with the security at these sites,” the official noted.
In delivering the IC’s Annual Threat Assessment, Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair stated that while the US and its allies have dealt injurious blows to Al Qaeda’s efforts to develop sophisticated radiological and nuclear weapons capabilities, the IC nevertheless believes Al Qaeda remains intent on acquiring a nuclear attack capability.
Blair – and others – have made it clear that if Al Qaeda develops nuclear, or even radiological weapons, and has the operatives to use them, it will not hesitate to do so – an assessment that authorities had hammered home in the January Homeland Security Today report, The WMD Connection.
“We do not know of any states deliberately providing [chemical, biological, radiological, or nuclear] assistance to terrorist groups,” Blair told Congress, but “terrorist groups and individuals have sought out scientists with applicable expertise “¦ and many in the international community are especially concerned about the potential for terrorists to gain access to WMD-related materials or technology.”
Blair added that “terrorists and insurgents increasingly will turn to crime to generate funding and will acquire logistical support from criminals, in part because of US and Western success in attacking other sources of their funding. Terrorists and insurgents prefer to conduct criminal activities themselves; when they cannot do so, they turn to outside individuals and criminal service providers,” and “some [of these] criminals could have the capability to provide WMD material to terrorists.”
In the new report, Al Qaeda Weapons of Mass Destruction Threat: Hype or Reality, by Harvard University John F. Kennedy School of Government’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, senior fellow Rolf Mowatt-Larssen, a two-decades IC veteran who served as chief of the CIA’s WMD branch, said the government is seriously misreading Al Qaeda’s WMD objectives.
He’s echoed by all the past and present IC officials and authorities HSToday.us has interviewed who were or are directly involved in stopping WMD terrorism.
“But officialdom [the administration] doesn’t see it this way,” a senior WMD counterterrorist told said. “And that’s not very reassuring” given that the Commission on the Prevention of Weapons of Mass Destruction Proliferation and Terrorism just issued a new report that gave the Obama administration an F for its lax preparedness for a catastrophic, mass casualty terrorist attack. But it’s not just the Obama administration – adequate preparedness for such an attack has been wanting since 9/11.
Ironically, the lack of preparedness for a catastrophic attack runs counter to IC officials’ assessment that the Al Qaeda network clearly intends to detonate a nuclear or even a radiological device once it has obtained one and has the capability to deploy it.
“Al Qaeda’s reasoning runs counter to analytic convention that equates the ease of acquisition of chemical, biological or radiological weapons with an increasing likelihood of terrorist use — i.e., a terrorist attack employing crude weapons is therefore more likely than an attack using a nuclear or large scale biological weapon,” Mowatt-Larssen stated.
“In fact, it is the opposite” of that prevailing wisdom, Mowatt-Larssen concluded, saying Al Qaeda’s motivations suggest “the greatest threat is posed by the most effective and simple means of mass destruction, whether these means consist of nuclear, biological, or other forms of asymmetric weapons.”
“Considering the potential that such weapons hold in fulfilling Al Qaeda’s aspirations,” his report stated, “their WMD procurement efforts have been managed at the most senior levels, under rules of strict compartmentalization from lower levels of the organization, and with central control over possible targets and timing of prospective attacks.”
“Al Qaeda’s patient, decade-long effort to steal or construct an improvised nuclear device (IND) flows from their perception of the benefits of producing the image of a mushroom cloud rising over a US city, just as the 9/11 attacks have altered the course of history,” Mowatt-Larssen noted.
Every past and present IC WMD counterterrorist HSToday.us has interviewed agreed that Al Qaeda’s ideological goal, as was outlined by the terrorist group’s leader, Osama bin Laden, a decade ago, is to kill millions of infidels in the US in one spectacular attack. They all agree that the only way Al Qaeda could pull this off is through the detonation of a nuclear bomb.
“We’ve been warned – repeatedly,” by Al Qaeda, as one of the veteran WMD terrorist hunters explained. “This is the primary, ideological underpinning that drives the group’s perceived religious duty! For us in the West to believe anything different is tantamount to willingly committing mass suicide!”