And his next passage by Colonel Larsen underlies why I disagree with my friends Dany Shoham and Stuart Jacobsen who argued in a journal article that it was AQ operationally, but that Iraq supplied the know-how.
“The number one problem of homeland security is that the majority of leaders in the public and private sectors, academics, self-appointed experts, and pundits rush to provide answers before they have properly constructed the questions. This is because they assume the questions have not changed. They are wrong. The questions have changed. The reason for these changes is not al Qaeda or 9/11; the reason is technology. Weapons formerly restricted to the arsenals of large industrialized nation-states are now within reach of small states and some nonstate actors.
In the twenty-first century, biotechnology will change our lives even more than nuclear technology did in the twentieth century. Thirty years ago we didnt have to struggle with the ethical dilemmas of stem cell research and cloning or the threat of genetically engineered bioweapons. But change has not been limited to new types of weapons; it is the entire international environment that has changed.
When I use the term al Qaeda in this book, I am not limiting it to the terrorist group commanded by Osama bin Laden. I use it to describe a loose affiliation of fanatical Islamic terrorists. They go by many names: Jemaah Islamiyah (Indonesia), Islamic Jihad (West Bank and Gaza), Al-Gama al-Islamiyya (Egypt), Harkat-ul-Mujahideen al-Alami (Pakistan), and the Armed Islamic Group (Algeria). The State Department identifies two dozen Islamic terrorist organizations. Some operations are under the strict command and control of bin Laden, such as the attacks on our embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, the USS Cole, and 9/11. Other operations, such as the attacks in Bali, Spain, and London, were planned and executed by al Qaeda affiliates. These affiliates endorse al Qaeda religious guidance that allows for the killing of innocents during a holy war. Their theory is that true innocents will go directly to heaven when killed in a jihad. (According to bin Laden, Americans can never be true innocents since our tax dollars pay for the war against al Qaeda.) Some of these affiliates receive training and even limited funding from al Qaeda, while others operate independently except for moral support and religious guidance.”
His comments about where AQ would build a bioweapon remind me of a story this week about where Mexican drug lords choose to grow marijuana (in the US):
Colonel Larsen writes:
“I understand many Americans frustration with our porous borders, but we need to spend our limited resources on solutions that will really work. There are ways to significantly reduce illegal immigration, but I guarantee you there is no way to prevent terrorists from smuggling a bioweapon into this country. Furthermore, al Qaeda training manuals available on the Internet state that its better to build weapons inside the country one plans to attack, rather than transport them across international borders. In virtually every al Qaeda attack, this is precisely what the terrorists did, whether in Kenya and Tanzania in August 1998, Bali in October 2002, Morocco in May 2003, Turkey in December 2003, Spain in March 2004, or London in July 2005. That is why biodefense requires different solutions than those required to reduce illegal immigration.”