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Al-Qaida has suitcase nuclear bombs: Pakistani journalist
Associated Press | March 21, 2004

Posted on 03/20/2004 10:54:05 PM PST by HAL9000

SYDNEY, Australia (AP) - Osama bin Laden's terror network claims to have bought ready-made nuclear weapons on a Central Asian black market, the biographer of al-Qaida's No.2 leader was quoted telling an Australian television station.

In an interview scheduled to be televised Monday, Pakistani journalist Hamid Mir said Ayman al-Zawahri claimed "smart briefcase bombs" are available on the black market.

It was not clear when the interview between Mir and al-Zawahri took place.

U.S. intelligence agencies have long believed al-Qaida attempted to acquire a nuclear device on the black market but said there is no evidence they ever succeeded.

In the interview with Australian Broadcasting Corp. television, parts of which were released Sunday, Mir recalled telling al-Zawahri it was difficult to believe al-Qaida had nuclear weapons when the terror network didn't have the equipment to maintain or use them.

"Dr. Ayman al-Zawahri laughed and he said: 'Mr. Mir, if you have $30 million, go to the black market in Central Asia, contact any disgruntled Soviet scientist and a lot of...smart briefcase bombs are available,"' Mir said in the interview.

"They have contacted us, we sent our people to Moscow, to Tashkent, to other Central Asian states and they negotiated and we purchased some suitcase bombs," Mir quoted al-Zawahri saying.

Al-Zawahri's boast would not in itself prove the al-Qaida has actually succeeded in acquiring nuclear weapons.

Al-Qaida has never hidden its interest in acquiring nuclear weapons.

The U.S. government indictment of bin Laden charges as far back as 1992 he "and others known and unknown, made efforts to obtain the components of nuclear weapons."

Bin Laden, in a November 2001 interview with a Pakistani journalist, boasted of having hidden such components "as a deterrent." And in 1998, a Russian nuclear weapons design expert was investigated for allegedly working with bin Laden's Taliban allies.

It was revealed last month Pakistan's top nuclear scientist sold sensitive equipment and nuclear technology to Iran, Libya and North Korea, fuelling fears the information could have also fallen into the hands of terrorists.

Mir describe al-Zawahri as "the real brain behind Osama bin Laden."

"He is the real strategist, Osama bin Laden is only a frontman," Mir was quoted saying during the interview.

"I think he is more dangerous than bin Laden."

Al-Zawahri - an Egyptian surgeon - is believed hiding in the rugged region around the Pakistan-Afghan border where U.S. and Pakistani troops are conducting a major operation against Taliban and al-Qaida forces.

He is said to have played a leading role in orchestrating the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on the United States.



TOPICS: Foreign Affairs; Front Page News; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: alqaeda; alqaedanukes; alqaida; alzawahri; binladen; briefcasenukes; hamidmir; nuclear; nuclearblackmarket; osamabinladen; proliferation; suitcase; suitcasenuke; suitcasenukes

1 posted on 03/20/2004 10:54:05 PM PST by HAL9000
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To: HAL9000
Don't those puppies require periodic maintenance?

Something about tritium being used in the trigger?

2 posted on 03/20/2004 11:00:24 PM PST by CurlyDave
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To: HAL9000
"Al-Qaida has suitcase nuclear bombs"
Does Kerry still think this is just a distraction from Jobs and Health Care? HE is the one that is out of touch. I am absolutely horrified, this could quite easily be true. The only thing that leads me to beleive that Al Qaeda probably doesn't have such bombs is that I'm pretty sure they would have used them by now if they could have.
3 posted on 03/20/2004 11:02:28 PM PST by Betaille ("I voted for the 87 billion dollars before I voted against it." -John Kerry)
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To: HAL9000
WTH is a "smart" briefcase bomb? Does it sprout legs and deliver itself to its intended target?
4 posted on 03/20/2004 11:08:17 PM PST by Skibane
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To: CurlyDave
That is my understanding, about a two shelf life. 2-5 kt, nasty weapon, not a city killer but much more destruction than 9-11, much much more.
5 posted on 03/20/2004 11:11:01 PM PST by jpsb (Nominated 1994 "Worst writer on the net")
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To: HAL9000
Hamid Mir is a Taliban apologist. Perhaps al qaeda propagandist is more accurate.

Here is an interview with Hamid Mir

... and a few choice morsels...

IOL: How well do you know bin Laden?

HM: I know him from last four years. I met him twice, spend many days with him. He is not a scholar, he is a fighter. He wants to liberate Palestine. He wrote many poems against Israel. He is a jihadi [warrior] poet. His poems will come out very soon. I always ask him difficult questions and he answers my questions with patience.

IOL: Do you think that bin Laden is behind the 9-11 attacks?

HM: I don't think a man living in [the] mountains, without any communication facilities inside America can manage such kind of big operation.

6 posted on 03/20/2004 11:11:29 PM PST by MediaMole
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To: CurlyDave
Personally, I don't think they have one.
7 posted on 03/20/2004 11:12:56 PM PST by jpsb (Nominated 1994 "Worst writer on the net")
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To: HAL9000
On a little further thought, there is another possibility.

They did buy some, and when they tried to use one, it was a dud--nothing happened.

I can not believe that they have nukes and have not tried to use them, but even the islamics realize that testing one would be a give-away. We are constantly on the lookout for nuclear tests, and can detect one anywhere in the world, 24/7.

So, they tried one out untested--probably in a truck bomb. Pushed the button and nothing happened. Probably New York, WTC before 9-11. Possibly Washington, DC. Could probably take out both the White House and congress.

Now they have a problem. If anyone finds out they have them, the western powers (even Spain) will unite and wipe them out. It is far easier to refurbish one that was professionally made than it is to make one from scratch, but it is still very hard.

Nothing worse than the world knowing you have nukes that don't work...

8 posted on 03/20/2004 11:15:09 PM PST by CurlyDave
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To: jpsb
I'm willing to bet that the Russian mafia ordered a bunch of parts from Radio Shack...and built something to look like a nuke suitcase...and sold it for $$$. These dimwits from Al-Qaida have continually surprised me as to how stupid they really are. When you look at the capability of such a case...its not a weapon you would use to destroy an entire city. It might work well on a ship, or in a shopping mall.
9 posted on 03/20/2004 11:20:02 PM PST by pepsionice
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To: CurlyDave
"Nothing worse than the world knowing you have nukes that don't work..."

What about NK, where we know they work and still do NOTHING.

10 posted on 03/20/2004 11:22:20 PM PST by endthematrix (To enter my lane you must use your turn signal!)
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To: HAL9000; Physicist; VadeRetro
My understanding is that you need at least 25lbs. of plutonium to make a bomb. You need a moderating agent, a neutron reflecting shell, some tnt to squish the thing, and some shielding so you don't set off every radiation detector in town.

I am guessing the "suitcase" nuke has to weigh in at least 100 lbs.

I think it would be hard to move one around undetected.
11 posted on 03/20/2004 11:22:52 PM PST by staytrue
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To: CurlyDave
Yes, they do.
12 posted on 03/20/2004 11:23:39 PM PST by Howlin (BTW. I'm glad you add the "-on" there.)
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To: jpsb
Is this the same guy who said that they have/had #2 surrounded this week?
13 posted on 03/20/2004 11:24:42 PM PST by Howlin (BTW. I'm glad you add the "-on" there.)
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To: endthematrix
What about NK, where we know they work

We don't know any such thing about NK, but we do have strong cause for suspicion.

14 posted on 03/20/2004 11:26:04 PM PST by squidly (I have always felt that a politician is to be judged by the animosity he excites among his opponents)
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To: endthematrix
What about NK, where we know they work and still do NOTHING.

The North Koreans are not actively at war with us.

15 posted on 03/20/2004 11:28:28 PM PST by CurlyDave
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To: MediaMole
"Hamid Mir is a Taliban apologist. Perhaps al qaeda propagandist is more accurate."

Worse. Mir has been bending over for every jihadist psycho in Pakistan for the last 15 years. In fact, the whole Urdu language press in Pakistan is about as objective as Pravda or TASS in the old days.

Fortunately, he's also a liar and you can safely disregard anything he says.

16 posted on 03/20/2004 11:28:48 PM PST by Hamza01
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To: HAL9000
WND article, 2002
Bush, Blair warned of bin Laden nukes Al-Qaida purchased 20 suitcase arms from former KGB agents, says report
17 posted on 03/20/2004 11:29:07 PM PST by endthematrix (To enter my lane you must use your turn signal!)
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To: endthematrix
Interesting to me that the price tage quoted in the WND article is the same as that quoted by the Pakistani journalist. Also interesting, in light of previous comments on this thread, that it was six years ago.
18 posted on 03/20/2004 11:32:04 PM PST by squidly (I have always felt that a politician is to be judged by the animosity he excites among his opponents)
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To: CurlyDave
You mean NK is not currently at war with us. You mean not shooting at our direction.
19 posted on 03/20/2004 11:32:32 PM PST by endthematrix (To enter my lane you must use your turn signal!)
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To: CurlyDave
Tritium is in thermonuclear weapons, suitcase nukes are (to the best of my knowledge) solely fission weapons. Any shelf life issues probably revolve around the stability of the chemical explosive initiator, the half life of the core is to long to be of consequence.
20 posted on 03/20/2004 11:32:34 PM PST by Axenolith
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To: staytrue
I think it would be hard to move one around undetected.

Your average panel van has a cargo capacity in excess of 2000 lb.

Get one with no windows and you could drive a bomb around for months without anyone knowing. Beef up the springs and install some shielding if you are really paranoid, or just go to a step van. Dirt common in every city in the US and a several ton capacity. And you can park in a loading zone without raising any suspicion at all.

21 posted on 03/20/2004 11:33:23 PM PST by CurlyDave
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To: squidly
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/fr/638980/posts
22 posted on 03/20/2004 11:34:50 PM PST by endthematrix (To enter my lane you must use your turn signal!)
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To: HAL9000
The Suitcase Nuc threat is just about as creditable as was Idi Aman when he claimed that the Israel's used Atomic Hand Grenades during their raid at Entebbe.
23 posted on 03/20/2004 11:35:36 PM PST by Jeff Gordon (LWS - Legislating While Stupid. Someone should make this illegal.)
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To: Axenolith
Any shelf life issues probably revolve around the stability of the chemical explosive initiator,

The real problem is the life expectancy of the electronic components being located near a radiation source.

24 posted on 03/20/2004 11:37:49 PM PST by Jeff Gordon (LWS - Legislating While Stupid. Someone should make this illegal.)
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To: Skibane
What is a "smart" briefcase bomb? Does it sprout legs and deliver itself to its intended target?

No, it's a bomb that the Al-Qaeda vermin can't figure out how to make it go "boom". Nice going Russian mafia!

25 posted on 03/20/2004 11:49:30 PM PST by AF68
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To: HAL9000
Does Osama Have a Nuclear Bomb?

Bin Laden has several Nuclear Suitcases "Bin Laden has several Nuclear Suitcases Reproduced from the Jerusalem Report: October 25th, 1999 Master terrorist Ossame Bin Laden has acquired portable nuclear devices, a U.S.-based expert on non-conventional terror believes. The only real question now is whether BinLaden has "a few," as Russian intelligence seems to think, or "over 20," a figure cited by intelligence services of moderate Arab regimes. "There is no longer much doubt that Bin Laden has finally succeeded in his quest for nuclear ‘suitcase bombs," says Yossef Bodansky, head of the Congressional Task Force on Non-Conventional Terrorism in Washington. In a recent book, Bodansky reports that Bin Laden’s associates acquired the devices through Chechnya, paying the Chechens $30 million in cash and two tons of Afghan heroin, worth about $70 million in Afghanistan and about 10 times that on the street in Western cities.

Bodansky’s statements corroborate 1998 testimony by former Russian security chief Alexander Lebed to the U.S. House of Representatives. Lebed said that 43 nuclear suitcases from the former Soviet arsenal, developed for the KGB in the 1970s, have vanished since the collapse of the former Soviet Union a decade ago. Lebed said one person could detonate such a bomb by himself, and kill 100,000 people.

Among the others who recognize the threat is Ben Venzke, director of Tempest Publishing. The U.S. firm plans to release a detailed technical handbook on dealing with nuclear terror next year. The danger, says Venzke, is quite real ? and is not confined to stolen Russian weapons. "It is really quite simple," he says, "to acquire radioactive material and combine it with an explosive or so-called dirty device." Yael Haran

26 posted on 03/20/2004 11:51:29 PM PST by endthematrix (To enter my lane you must use your turn signal!)
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To: HAL9000
The AP story is percolating through the net.

Pakistani journalist: Al-Qaida claims has nuclear bombs

Hamid Mir put this story out now, IMO, because Al-Qaida is getting their ass hand to them and hopes the allied forces or some their populations will get scared and back off. The worse their situation, the more dire the threats.

27 posted on 03/21/2004 12:08:44 AM PST by Anti-Bubba182
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To: staytrue
I am guessing the "suitcase" nuke has to weigh in at least 100 lbs.

If you see a heavy bulky man that looks like a weight lifter carrying a big suit case and leaning slightly to one side, I think it best to get out of his way and get as far away from him as you can.

28 posted on 03/21/2004 12:45:14 AM PST by ReformedBeckite
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To: HAL9000
Sure there is uncertainty, there almost always is.

It's time to dust off the Reagan ads - "Some say there is a bear in the woods. Others ay ther eis no bear. [pause] If there is a bear in the woods..."
29 posted on 03/21/2004 12:47:30 AM PST by Wally_Kalbacken (Seldom right, never in doubt!)
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To: HAL9000; All
 
Nuclear WMD "WHAT IF's"...
MORE NUCLEAR WEAPONS LINKS:

http://www.clw.org/control/ctbchron.html

http://www.history.navy.mil/faqs/faq4-1.htm

http://www.projectshad.org/news/secrets-at-sea.htm

http://www.hk94.com/weblog/index.php?p=51&c=1

http://www.nv.doe.gov/news&pubs/photos&films/testfilms.htm

http://www.history.navy.mil/faqs/faq76-1.htm

http://www.fas.harvard.edu/~hpcws/gallery.htm

http://www.downwinders.org/

http://deseretnews.com/dn/view/0,1249,275007585,00.html

http://www.ratical.org/radiation/NGP/ChernDwinder.html

Tiny Nukes-- the backpack threat

30 posted on 03/21/2004 12:55:10 AM PST by backhoe (-30-)
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To: pepsionice
Re Russian Mafia, that would not surprise me. I don't think even the Russian Mafia would be stupid/greedy enough to sell a nuke to an Islamic terrorist. Might be used in Russia.
31 posted on 03/21/2004 1:00:56 AM PST by jpsb (Nominated 1994 "Worst writer on the net")
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To: ReformedBeckite
"If you see a heavy bulky man that looks like a weight lifter carrying a big suit case and leaning slightly to one side, I think it best to get out of his way and get as far away from him as you can.

Or he might have it in a back-pack configuration. So if you see a burly guy with said back-pack nuke, he'll be leaning waaaay back like the "Keep on Truckin'" guy from the '70's.

[ Pic anyone? ]
32 posted on 03/21/2004 1:06:49 AM PST by CaptSkip
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To: staytrue
My understanding is that you need at least 25lbs. of plutonium to make a bomb. You need a moderating agent, a neutron reflecting shell, some tnt to squish the thing, and some shielding so you don't set off every radiation detector in town. I am guessing the "suitcase" nuke has to weigh in at least 100 lbs. I think it would be hard to move one around undetected.

I would imagine that the internal parts of the small nuke would limit it to something bigger then a suit case, or at least one that would be very obviously big to even be carrying around. I would also think that some of the internal parts would have to be kept a certain distance from other parts in the bomb. And to top it off, the shielding around the bomb would probably make it too big to even think of one person lifting it up. Even if he could the size in volume would make it tough to lift up because a person body would have to be way off center to lift it up with one handle, or if it had two handles the arms would have to be spread too far apart. I could imagine though it possibly getting the bomb down to a size of a crate but it would at least take two people to pick it up. So The idea of someone just walking up the White House or some government building with a suitcase bomb or something like that is ludicrous. Thou if on the other had if two people were carrying a small crate toward the White House that would be very obvious and I would hope the security guards would shoot them to death. I would imagine if they did acquire a small nuclear bomb they would have to deliver it in a vehicle of some sort either a ground vehicle or an airplane. Hopefully nothing like that ever happens and hopefully our government has common sense to block off those streets leading up to our government buildings which our really high targets for the terrorists.

33 posted on 03/21/2004 1:10:51 AM PST by ReformedBeckite
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To: CaptSkip
and if he falls hopefully he falls on his back.
34 posted on 03/21/2004 1:12:37 AM PST by ReformedBeckite
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To: ReformedBeckite
Like a turtle, he won't be able to right himself and his soft under-belly will be exposed to attack.

It must be getting late...must sleep.
35 posted on 03/21/2004 1:44:58 AM PST by CaptSkip
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To: HAL9000
Preposterous.
If they had them, they would have used them on 9/11, and then isued demands.

So9

36 posted on 03/21/2004 1:57:00 AM PST by Servant of the 9 (Goldwater Republican)
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To: Howlin
I thought he was the "reporter" that has been saying since the first day this operation went public, that there is UNLIKELY any al-Qaeda members in this area and the Pakis are fighting Chechens, and Uzbeks. He also said highly unlikely al Zawahi is anywhere nearby nor any Arabs there either.

Definitely sounds like he is a supporter/member of AQ and the Taliban and to me.

Since, this guy has no credibility with me, makes me feel it's more likely we have captured/killed some High Value Target AQ..and that they actually failed in acquiring any actual suitcase nukes (they may have been duped by their seller thou). On a side note, I spoke to friend who's hubby was dispatched to the area in the within the last 48-hours to "get #2"

37 posted on 03/21/2004 2:07:14 AM PST by A_Niceguy_in_CA
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To: CaptSkip
R. Crumb: Keep on Truckin' cartoon
38 posted on 03/21/2004 2:27:02 AM PST by giotto
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To: All
Hmm, this may be very rash, but maybe we should set up our own nuclear deterrent.. point a few warheads toward mecca, and let Al-Quaida know, in no uncertain terms, that any nuclear attack on the US would immediately result in Mecca being turned into a sheet of glass. Peace at last ?
39 posted on 03/21/2004 6:31:26 AM PST by somniferum
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To: endthematrix
Thanks for posting this, I remember at the "fall" of the Soviet Union, under guess who, clinton administration that there were a few in Congress concerned about what would happen to Soviet nukes of all shapes and sizes.

I believe there was money allocated by Congress to secure the nukes/materials, obviously the money was spent and the nukes left that land of communism where anything is bought and sold.

The story went dead, and now it pops up as though they originated from Central Asia.
40 posted on 03/21/2004 6:36:28 AM PST by Just mythoughts
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To: MediaMole
Isnt he the jouranlist Fox had on about the Wan offensive this last week?
41 posted on 03/21/2004 7:09:24 AM PST by pitinkie
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To: pitinkie
journalist
42 posted on 03/21/2004 7:10:48 AM PST by pitinkie
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To: Anti-Bubba182
Hamid Mir put this story out now, IMO, because Al-Qaida is getting their ass hand to them and hopes the allied forces or some their populations will get scared and back off. The worse their situation, the more dire the threats.

The truth is more simple than that. In an interview on Fox this morning, he said it will all be in his new book. The Hamidization of America?

43 posted on 03/21/2004 7:21:46 AM PST by Stentor
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To: Axenolith
Tritium is in thermonuclear weapons, suitcase nukes are (to the best of my knowledge) solely fission weapons

Tritium is used in tactical nukes. Tritium is a strong emitter of alpha particles. If you have alpha particles hitting beryllium nuclei, the beryllium transforms into carbon, and emits a neutron. The neutrons can then trigger fission.

I'm guessing that if you had a core of tritium, surrounded by beryllium, surrounded by plutonium, and you used explosives to suddenly compress the mass to absurd densities, you would have enough neutron flux to set off the plutonium.

Then again, I'm an engineer rather than a professional physicist, so I may be totally out to lunch

44 posted on 03/21/2004 7:23:18 AM PST by SauronOfMordor (That which does not kill me had better be able to run away damn fast.)
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To: staytrue
I am guessing the "suitcase" nuke has to weigh in at least 100 lbs.

The known suitcase nukes made back in the 1950s were at least that heavy, maybe closer to 200. Not the kind of thing you can carry down the street inconspicuously. Not sure how much potential there is for lightening it up. Any electronics have shrunk by a huge factor with newer technology, but the rest of it would stay about the same size.

45 posted on 03/21/2004 7:30:55 AM PST by VadeRetro
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To: ReformedBeckite
The idea of someone just walking up the White House or some government building with a suitcase bomb or something like that is ludicrous. Thou if on the other had if two people were carrying a small crate toward the White House that would be very obvious and I would hope the security guards would shoot them to death.

Sept 12, 1994: Frank Eugene Corder crashes small plane into side of white house

Presumably the Stinger crews are more alert these days

46 posted on 03/21/2004 7:41:28 AM PST by SauronOfMordor (That which does not kill me had better be able to run away damn fast.)
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To: HAL9000
AQ doesn't have suitcase nukes. If they did, they would have used them already. They don't need them anyway. All AQ needs to do is set off a simple dirty bomb in a big city -- the media will do the rest of the terrorizing for them.
47 posted on 03/21/2004 8:02:54 AM PST by mikegi
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To: SauronOfMordor
Tritium is a Hydrogen isotope. There are 2 neutrons and one proton in it. An Alpha particle is a Helium nucleus and contains 2 protons and 2 neutrons. If you're to have Tritium acting as an alpha emitter there's going to be Fusion going on and by then we're way past suitcase.

The case nuke merely needs a subcritical mass of plutonium to be compressed to criticality. Enhancements to reduce material quantity involve a good reflector (beryllium) which will reemit\redirect errant neutrons from the fissile mass back into the mass.
48 posted on 03/21/2004 9:33:44 AM PST by Axenolith
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To: HAL9000
Good for a scare but Madrid proved that there's plenty they can do with conventional explosives. Including breaking up a righteous alliance.

I would think actually employing suitcase nukes would be more trouble than they'd be worth.
49 posted on 03/21/2004 10:25:11 AM PST by pttttt
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To: HAL9000
Very bad news.
50 posted on 03/22/2004 8:23:49 AM PST by kimosabe31
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