Skip to comments.U.S.: Bin Laden has nuke know-how
Posted on 12/20/2001 4:57:15 PM PST by Smogger
WASHINGTON, Dec. 20 The Bush administration disclosed new details Thursday that suggest terrorist mastermind Osama bin Laden may know much more about building nuclear weapons than originally thought.
THE DISCLOSURE came in a Rose Garden ceremony marking the 100th day of the U.S. war on terrorism, when President Bush announced steps to freeze the assets of two groups accused of having links to terrorists.
One of the groups, known as Umnah Tameer E-nau, or UTN, allegedly provided bin Laden with more than just financial support.
UTN claims to serve the hungry and needy of Afghanistan, but it was the UTN that provided information about nuclear weapons to al-Qaida, Bush said.
The White House alleges in a fact sheet on UTN that Sultan Bashiruddin Mahmood, a Pakistani nuclear scientist, met with bin Laden weeks before Sept. 11 and provided detailed information about how to make a nuclear weapon and the effects of a nuclear blast.
There is still no evidence, however, that bin Laden, in fact, has a nuclear weapon.
U.S. officials told NBC News that a search of UTN offices in Kabul, abandoned last month in the wake of American bombing, turned up large amounts of significant data on nuclear weapons, including computer hard drives and notebooks with far more detail than found on public sites on the Internet.
In one meeting, a bin Laden associate reportedly claimed to have nuclear material and wanted to use it to make a nuclear or radiological bomb a dirty bomb, also known as the poor mans nuke that could at least spread radioactive material over an area.
Its within the reach of many, many groups to fashion a dirty bomb, said David Albright of the Institute for Science and International Security, a Washington, D.C.-based group that seeks to stop the spread of nuclear weapons.
Other documents recovered from UTN in Kabul outlined a plot to kidnap an American attaché. U.S. officials believe that kidnap plan may still be active and wont reveal the name of the target.
In Afghanistan and beyond, the search goes on for bin Laden. Intelligence reports indicate one of his sons has said that bin Laden is on the move, back and forth between Afghanistan and Pakistan.
As for Mahmood, the Pakistani scientist, he is under house arrest in Pakistan and reportedly cooperating with authorities.
TARGETING SUSPECT GROUPS
In his Washington, D.C., announcement, Bush targeted UTN and a second group based in Kashmir.
Today, Im announcing two more strikes against the financing of terror, Bush said.
The president said his administration is working with U.S. allies to freeze the financial assets of UTN and the Kashmir group.
Neither group is believed to have assets in the United States, officials said.
Bush said the freeze order also affects three of UTNs directors.
Were issuing orders to block any of their assets within U.S. jurisdiction, and putting the world on notice that anyone who continues to do business with UTN and its principal figures will not do business with the United States, Bush said.
BUSH CITES KASHMIR GROUP
Bush identified the Kashmir-based group as Lashkar-i-Taiba, or LAT. He condemned the attack on Indias parliament last week, but did not draw a direct link to the terrorist group. India has blamed the attacks on forces operating within Pakistan.
LAT is a stateless sponsor of terrorism, and it hopes to destroy relations between Pakistan and India and undermine Pakistanis president, Musharraf, Bush said. To achieve its purpose, LAT has committed acts of terrorism inside both India and Pakistan. LAT is a terrorist organization that presents a global threat, and I look forward to working with the governments of both India and Pakistan in a common effort to shut it down, and to bring the killers to justice.
Already, in the 100 days since suicide hijackers attacked on Sept. 11, the Bush administration has blocked more than $33 million in assets of groups said to be involved in terrorism. Some of the 142 countries that are cooperating in the U.S. anti-terror campaign have frozen another $33 million in assets.
The tallies are part of a 100-day report released by the White House on Thursday to show progress in the war at a time when frustrating questions swirl around bin Ladens whereabouts and whether he will be captured at all.
Since United States began bombing targets in Afghanistan on Oct. 7, the military has destroyed at least 11 terrorist training camps and 39 command posts of Afghanistans terrorist-allied Taliban, according to the White House report.
During that same period, the Defense Departments $51 million humanitarian mission airdropped nearly 2.5 million food packets to starving Afghan civilians.
On the diplomatic front, the report points to Afghan progress in forming a new interim government, led by Prime Minister Hamid Karzai.
We won't know for sure until he uses them. I have said all along that I believe Bin Laden has nuclear capablility. To those of you that say if he had them he would have used them already I say YOUR CRAZY. If you have been following ALL of the threads related to Al Qaeda's potential nuclear capability: The Pakistani nuclear scientists, The Chechneyan nuclear suitcases, the testimony from that sheik, the alerts, and everything else I hardly see how you can come to any other conclusion.
He has them and he will use them. They will wait patiently for the opportunity to do the MAXIMUM FINANCIAL DAMAGE to the west and they will use them. Keep a lot of cash handy folks in small bills.
Grrr.. Fer GODSAKES!! STOP SAYING THAT! Seriously though I think that they are a very patient bunch. If you only have a few nukes or maybe even only one timing is everything. They will wait until we are the most vulnerable and they can do the MAXIMUM FINANCIAL AND PSYCHOLOGICAL DAMAGE. IMHO.
Maximum impact and maximum confusion occurs with surprise - i.e. first strike.
While I'm sure he'd have paid millions for a nuke, I seriously doubt whether he has them. As for your suggestion to start hording small bills,why don't you start marketing such brilliant ideas to the same people who bought into the Y2K non-event.
Like Christmas or New Year's maybe. He might wait for max financial damage, but if he can possibly use it to demoralize us he would try that as well.
More pap for the masses. Meanwhile, Christoper Hitchens spilled the beans on what "they" really fret about -- and how they cope with it.
The night of the weak knees
Wednesday December 5, 2001
Four weekends ago, I really did receive two Friday-night telephone calls from well-positioned Washingtonians. "Leave now," they told me. "There's a tactical nuke on the loose, and it's headed for DC." One of these callers was in a position to know, and the other was in a position where he was actually paid to know. Calls were being placed to an immediate circle of friends to which, in theory, I was flattered to belong. Those who were calling were also leaving - while not informing the rest of the citizens. Why, then, did I resolve to stay? It wasn't just British pluck, strong as that naturally is. I thought, first, that it was unlikely that al-Qaida, if it had the bomb, would have conducted a petty dress rehearsal with United Airlines. I thought, second, that the detonation of a "use it or lose it" freelance nuke could not be predicted for any given weekend. And I thought, third, that I would feel a colossal cretin if I fled and then came slithering back on Monday morning (especially if the nuclear holocaust was timed for Monday's rush hour after all). In the end, I did take the family on a pre-arranged trip to Gettysburg, leaving late and returning early.
Officially, nobody now remembers this night of the weak knees. It rated a brief and embarrassed mention in Hugh Sidey's Time column, and that was it. But I shall not forget how some of those in supposed authority decided that the end had come, and made it a point to keep it to themselves and their immediate friends, perhaps to stop the crowding of the roads. That's how it will be on the day of Armageddon, and that's why the citizen should always plan to outlive the state, rather than the other way round.
The whole cult of "national security" depends upon the cultivation of national insecurity. Our new "tsar" (and what a telling word that is) Tom Ridge gave another perfect example of this idiocy on Monday last. High alert . . . something "generic" ... nothing specific. This was the third occasion on which he had told the American people to be on anxious lookout for - nothing in particular. At least he did not descend to the level of stupidity attained by Governor Gray Davis of California the preceding month. Davis announced that the Golden Gate bridge was under threat on a specific day, thus clogging traffic while simultaneously tipping off any bomber who might have pencilled that day into his (and with al-Qaida it's always his) calendar.
People are not at their best when they are frightened, and this goes twice for people in government who are temporarily "dressed in a little brief authority". I give you the instance of that devout Christian campaigner John Ashcroft, now in control of the Department of Justice. As an immigrant with a green card, I find that my American wife and American children will not insure me against a secret arrest, against undisclosed evidence, against a verdict with no appeal, or against my execution in a secret ceremony. (As the New Yorker puts it this week, the above procedure is so secret that it may, in theory, already have occurred.) I am forced to admit that I have not, as an Englishman in America, suffered all that much from "racial profiling". In the past few weeks, indeed, I have been so enthusiastic about the progress of the war that I considered taking out citizenship papers as a gesture of solidarity. But now I feel that, though America can have my body, it can't have my habeas corpus.
(Click link above for the rest of the article.)
Care to explain when, pray tell, that is?
He'll use a nuke the second he has one and can get it where he wants.
Once again I sense people getting upset and anxious that there HASN'T been a major attack since 9/11.
Very small, sub-atomic pieces?
Just him, mind you.
Actually, I hope that, once he realizes that his hair is falling out, he will blow himself up in some obscure cave in Afghanistan.
I thought it was from the Journal of Irreproducible Results.
Hell, I have Corvette "know-how", but I have more of a chance of realizing and building mine from parts than Ben Laden
Generally speaking, I'm with Smogger.
Al Qaeda had YEARS to plan 9/11 (I'm going to stop referring to bin Laden and start referring to al Qaeda because THEY (the whole group) are the REAL threat, and we may as well get used to it).
They were under no compulsion whatsoever to act with a major blow like 9/11 until all their ducks were in a row.
These people are serious. They planned and prepared for 9/11 for at least 5 years before they pulled the trigger. They are also known to have plotted literally hundreds of other attacks. Some have been carried out, some not.
Their goals include a major war between the entire Muslim world and the West. One which the West is supposed to lose. Their goals include the "destruction" of America.
They spent 19 of their fighters on 9/11. Articles posted here have estimated their total non-Afghanistan-based jihadists at 2500. That's fewer than 1% of their human assets outside of Afghanistan they've spent so far.
I also read that previous major al-Qaeda attacks have typically had an average of about six months between them.
They show every evidence of thinking long-term. The war against the USSR lasted around 10 years.
They're playing to a global audience, particularly their radical Muslim buddies in dozens of countries. There's every reason to think they might well save the "best" for last.
As far as "alerting the world" goes, they believe we can only keep our guard up for so long. Given the past history of the American attention span, and particularly that of the MTV generation, they could well be right.
Bin-Laden is not rich enough or smart enough to have a nuclear bomb. I believe he already dead. He can't escape from the most powerful country on the face of the earth.
We are all in danger of making a serious mistake. Granted, our leaders haven't helped us on this as much as they might (though they have tried at least a little).
This is not about Osama bin Laden, how smart he is, or even how rich he is (although a few hundred million WILL go a HELL of a long way in a country -the former USSR - where as I recall a few years back, citizens could buy a murder for a hundred bucks).
This is about AL-QAEDA. Osama is a figurehead. Al-Qaeda has many more millions, and even after losing thousands of Jihadists, they still have thousands more. They have backing from rich businessmen.
Are any of these people rich enough or smart enough to have a nuclear bomb? What about a far simpler "dirty bomb"?
Don't think so?
Are you willing to bet your life on it?