A work of genius! How could these learned analysts have possibly discovered such a thing! This is on a par with their other brilliant discoveries: poverty causes terrorism, Islam is a Religion of Peace that has been Hijacked By A Tiny Minority of Extremists, etc. etc.
“Report says Al-Qaeda still aims to use weapons of mass destruction against U.S.,” by Joby Warrick for the Washington Post, January 26 (thanks to James):
When al-Qaeda’s No. 2 leader, Ayman al-Zawahiri, called off a planned chemical attack on New York’s subway system in 2003, he offered a chilling explanation: The plot to unleash poison gas on New Yorkers was being dropped for “something better,” Zawahiri said in a message intercepted by U.S. eavesdroppers.
The meaning of Zawahiri’s cryptic threat remains unclear more than six years later, but a new report warns that al-Qaeda has not abandoned its goal of attacking the United States with a chemical, biological or even nuclear weapon.
The report, by a former senior CIA official who led the agency’s hunt for weapons of mass destruction, portrays al-Qaeda’s leaders as determined and patient, willing to wait for years to acquire the kind of weapons that could inflict widespread casualties.
The former official, Rolf Mowatt-Larssen, draws on his knowledge of classified case files to argue that al-Qaeda has been far more sophisticated in its pursuit of weapons of mass destruction than is commonly believed, pursuing parallel paths to acquiring weapons and forging alliances with groups that can offer resources and expertise.
“If Osama bin Laden and his lieutenants had been interested in . . . small-scale attacks, there is little doubt they could have done so now,” Mowatt-Larssen writes in a report released Monday by the Harvard Kennedy School of Government’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs.
The report comes as a panel on weapons of mass destruction appointed by Congress prepares to release a new assessment of the federal government’s preparedness for such an attack. The review by the bipartisan Commission on the Prevention of Weapons of Mass Destruction Proliferation and Terrorism is particularly critical of the Obama administration’s actions so far in hardening the country’s defenses against bioterrorism, according to two former government officials who have seen drafts of the report.
The commission’s initial report in December 2008 warned that a terrorist attack using weapons of mass destruction was likely by 2013….