THIS ARTICLE WAS PUBLISHED IN 2008.. HERE WE ARE IN 2013… WILL THIS ATTACK COME TO FRUITION? IF IT DOES HOW MUCH ARE YOU WILLING TO BET THOSE WARNING US ARE THE ONES ORCHESTRATING THE TERROR?
The United States can expect a nuclear or biological terror attack before 2013, a commission will tell the Obama administration today.
Its study suggests that the incoming government must bolster efforts to counter and prepare for germ warfare by terrorists.
‘Our margin of safety is shrinking, not growing,’ states the report, which is not due to be released publicly until tomorrow.
he commission notes that the U.S. government’s counter-terrorism activities have been geared toward preventing nuclear terror but that it recommended that the prevention of biological terror be made a higher priority.
The commission believes biological weapons are more likely to be obtained and used before nuclear or radioactive weapons because nuclear facilities are more carefully guarded.
Civilian laboratories with potentially dangerous pathogens abound, however, and could easily be compromised.
‘The biological threat is greater than the nuclear; the acquisition of deadly pathogens, and their weaponisation and dissemination in aerosol form, would entail fewer technical hurdles than the theft or production of weapons-grade uranium or plutonium and its assembly into an improvised nuclear device,’ the report says.
The report said terrorist groups still lack the needed scientific and technical ability to make weapons out of pathogens or nuclear bombs.
However it warns that any gaps could be overcome easily if terrorists should find scientists willing to share or sell their expertise.
‘The United States should be less concerned that terrorists will become biologists and far more concerned that biologists will become terrorists,’ the report states.
Senator Bob Graham of Florida, chairman of the study, said anthrax remains the most likely biological weapon. However, he said contagious diseases, such as the influenza strain that killed 40 million early in the 20th century, are looming threats.
That virus has been recreated in scientific labs, and there remains no innoculation to protect against it should it be stolen and released.
Senator Graham added that the threat of a terror attack using nuclear or biological weapons is growing ‘not because we have not done positive things but because adversaries are moving at an even faster pace to increase their access’ to those materials.
Referring to last week’s terror attacks in Mumbai he said: ‘If those people had had access to a biological or nuclear weapon, they would have multiplied by orders of magnitude the deaths they could have inflicted.’
The report, from the bipartisan Commission on the Prevention of WMD Proliferation and Terrorism, recommends that the White House appoints one official on the National Security Council to coordinate exclusively U.S. intelligence and foreign policy on combating the spread of nuclear and biological weapons.
The document named Al-Qaeda as the only terror group judged to be actively intent on conducting a nuclear attack against the United States.
The global terrorist network is not yet capable of building such a weapon and has yet to obtain one but that could change if a nuclear weapons engineer or scientist were recruited to its cause, the report warns.
The potential nexus of terrorism, nuclear and biological weapons is especially acute in Pakistan, it added.
‘Were one to map terrorism and weapons of mass destruction today, all roads would intersect in Pakistan,’ the report states.
In fact, commission members were forced to cancel their trip to Pakistan this autumn after the hotel in which the commission was due to stay – the Islamabad Marriott Hotel – was blown up by terrorist bombs just hours before they were due to check in.
‘We think time is not our ally. The [United States] needs to move with a sense of urgency,’ Graham said.