Skip to comments.'Only A Matter Of Time Before Terrorists Use Weapons Of Mass Destruction'
Posted on 01/16/2006 6:08:33 PM PST by blam
'Only a matter of time before terrorists use weapons of mass destruction'
By Con Coughlin
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.
Henry Crumpton refuses to rule out the military option to tame Iran's nuclear amitions
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."
Talk about stating the obvious. I hope he didn't spend a lot of time studying the issue to come to that conclusion.
We hear this so much I just tend to let it in one ear and out the other.
This should be read aloud to Algore.
< /sarcasm >
Whatever it be, its BUSH's FAULT!!!!!
I trust the professional diplomat class is doing its job passing around the notion that a WMD attack on a US city will freakin' finish islamocancer as know it, forever....
Why? Because it's the easiest to make and also has the longest shelf life (people forget that biological agents have limited shelf life, even powdered anthrax). If the Aum Shinrikyo could make Sarin from homemade stills, I'm sure al-Qaeda probably has the knowledge and access to materials to make Tabun, the easiest to make nerve gas. One whiff of Tabun and you'll be dead in 10-12 minutes in a pretty excruciating manner.
I'm with you, pal.. it doesn't take much to figure out what they are up to and what they will do if they do get the bomb. The appeasers will lead us to destruction.
I'm sure the Jews would be OK with the idea of having the temple on the mount as our third target in the case of a WMD hit on the US.
I think a "dirty bomb"..conventional explosives laced with radioactive material to be the most likely next weapon. There was a British made for TV movie about such an attack on London that aired on HBO..very chilling.
The best WMD for the terrorists to use is a chemical weapon. Easy to make, easy to transport, and used correctly will cause mass casualties.
Very chilling indeed. And it may not be the deadliest weapon, but will really make a long-term mess of any place and cause an economic disastor.
All of Al-Qaeda's attacks are predicated on the idea that the west would rather let Al-Qaeda continue their operations than have mass civilian casualties in the Arab world.
If we had modern weapons and a medieval mindset, the war in Iraq would have been over in a week. Terrorist attack in Fallujah? Goodbye, Fallujah.
The reality is that western ethics will change if we have a WMD attack on any western nation. The medieval mindset will return. We may end up destroying large sections of Muslim countries just on rumors that terrorist operations were being planned. And most westerners won't care.
I'm not delighting in the possibility of the deaths of millions of innocent Muslims. But the reality is the west will do what it must to survive.
It hasn't yet. Give it time. It's time to be thinking about what we will do when it happens.