Warnings and rumors about an al-Qaeda “dirty bomb” and other nuclear, biological, and chemical attacks are nothing new, of course. What is noteworthy here is the urgency of the behind-the-scenes discussions and the confirmation these cables provide of the scope of the threat. “World ‘on brink of nuclear 9/11’ as Al Qaeda plans large ‘dirty’ bomb,” from the Daily Mail, February 2 (thanks to Twostellas):
Al Qaeda is attempting to stockpile ‘dirty’ radioactive explosives that could be used to target British troops or for a larger urban attack, it has emerged.
New diplomatic documents released by WikiLeaks show that U.S. intelligence personnel have been informed of terrorist attempts to acquire dangerous amounts of uranium and plutonium.
The cables warn of a large trafficking operation of chemical weapons material and threats of a ‘nuclear 9/11’ unless the West intervenes swiftly.
Security chiefs briefed a Nato meeting in January 2009 that Al Qaeda was planning a programme of ‘dirty radioactive improvised explosive devices (IEDs)’.
The IEDs could be used against coalition forces in Afghanistan but would also contaminate the surrounding land with nuclear waste for years to come. […]
U.S. officials were warned by an Indian national security adviser that terrorist organisations now ‘have the technical competence to manufacture an explosive device beyond a mere dirty bomb’.
British officials have also expressed fears of covert weapons development in Pakistan.
A leaked document regarding official defence discussions in 2009 highlighted ‘deep concerns’ that a rogue scientist could ‘gradually smuggle enough material’ out of the Pakistani nuclear programme to construct a weapon.
Documents sent to Washington from foreign U.S. embassies also reveal the growth of nuclear smuggling rings, with radioactive materials trafficked across Europe, Africa and the Middle East….