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  1. #1
    Andrewtx's Avatar
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    'Only a matter of time before terrorists use weapons of mass destruction'

    'Only a matter of time before terrorists use weapons of mass destruction'
    By Con Coughlin
    (Filed: 17/01/2006)

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main...7/ixworld.html

    Biological weapons pose a far more serious long-term terrorist threat to the West than nuclear weapons, according to Washington's leading counter-terrorism expert.

    And Henry "Hank" Crumpton, the newly-appointed head of counter-terrorism at the US State Department, believes that it is simply a matter of time before international terrorist groups such as al-Qa'eda acquire weapons of mass destruction and use them in attacks.

    In an exclusive interview with The Daily Telegraph, Mr Crumpton, who previously spent 20 years working for the Central Intelligence Agency, warned yesterday that the "war on terror" was likely to last for decades.

    "This threat has changed the way we will fight wars in the future," he said.

    "We are talking about micro targets such as al-Qa'eda which, when combined with WMD, have a macro impact. I rate the probability of terror groups using WMD [to attack Western targets] as very high. It is simply a question of time.

    "And it is not just the nuclear threat that bothers me. I think, if anything, the biological threat is going to grow.

    "As catastrophic as a nuclear attack would be, it would be self-contained. But if you look at a worst-case scenario for a biological attack, it would be difficult to determine whether or not it was a terrorist attack, and it would be far more difficult to contain."

    After the September 11 attacks on the United States in 2001, Mr Crumpton, who was then a senior CIA officer, played a leading role in the campaign to overthrow the Taliban and destroy al-Qa'eda's operational infrastructure in Afghanistan, which relied heavily on covert operations.

    After the war, allied forces found that al-Qa'eda had been working on anthrax programmes that it intended to use on western targets.

    "They had hired a very experienced biologist to work on this. They were very serious about it and there is no reason to believe they have given up on their interest."

    The fear that terrorist groups might be able to acquire WMD from rogue states such as Iran or Syria explains Washington's determination to confront Iran over its nuclear programme.

    "If we look at the threat posed by Iran, they have links with Hizbollah [the Lebanese Shi'ite Muslim militia], which is a terrorist organisation with global reach, and they are actively pursuing WMD. And the leadership has made a conscious decision to defy international treaties. I am deeply troubled by this."

    As for taking action to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons, Mr Crumpton insisted that "every option is on the table" - including military action.

    "I would not rule out anything because of the particularly grave threat that we are facing," he said.

    In a distinguished career with the CIA, during which he won four of the agency's highest awards, Mr Crumpton was a key figure in its covert operations against al-Qa'eda pre-September 11.

    Referred to simply as "Henry" in the 9/11 Commission Report, Mr Crumpton tried to persuade the CIA to do more in Afghanistan to hunt down Osama bin Laden before the attacks, but two key proposals to tackle al-Qa'eda were turned down.

    After the September 11 attacks, in which he lost many close friends, he was initially overwhelmed by sorrow.

    "But that sorrow was soon replaced by anger, anger that al-Qa'eda could do this to innocent people - and the anger lasted for more than a year."

    Mr Crumpton stresses the coalition's achievements in disrupting bin Laden's network. In his view, al-Qa'eda's infrastructure has been so badly damaged that it is now struggling to control the groups that would like to support it.

    "They can't communicate with their supporters unless the odd courier breaks through. They can't get access to money and things like that. We have made life very difficult for them."

    But despite the initial success achieved during the Afghan war in 2001, he expressed disappointment with the support Washington had received from its European allies since hostilities ended. "The job was not finished and it is not finished now." Bin Laden, who escaped to Pakistan, was "in all probability" still alive, he said.

    The regime of President Assad in Syria also seriously threatens western security, he says. "The regime continues to support terror organisations. And we know that the Baathist leadership fled to Damascus taking with them money and terrorist expertise, and we cannot rule out the fact that some of that expertise related to WMD."

  2. #2
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    I just wrote a research paper on this that I'd be happy to share with any nerds interested in reading it

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    Andrewtx's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Virginian
    I just wrote a research paper on this that I'd be happy to share with any nerds interested in reading it

    I'd love to read it!

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    Andrew, and anyone else interested, PM your email and I'll send it on.

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    Andrewtx's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Virginian
    Andrew, and anyone else interested, PM your email and I'll send it on.


    You got it my friend.

 

 

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