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.”