Countering the al-Qaeda WMD Threat; Strategic Insights: v.2, issue 11 (November 2003)
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The threat of al-Qaeda's use of weapons of mass destruction is real. During the 1990s, al-Qaeda used its significant financial resources and global support network to pursue the acquisition of nuclear, biological, chemical and radiological weapons. As the terrible events of September 11, 2001 demonstrated, the group is unrestrained by moral proscriptions against devastating, indiscriminate violence against civilians. The attacks on New York and Washington DC also reveal the group's ability to use the infrastructure of the target country as a weapon. Earlier analysis has shown that the critical infrastructure of the United States, including its nuclear and chemical facilities, as well as its shipping and transport networks, contain glaring vulnerabilities, which, if exploited in an al-Qaeda attack, could result in casualties even beyond what the world witnessed on September 11, with or without weapons of mass destruction. This document examines what the United States is doing to counter al-Qaeda's elusive and amorphous threat of mass destruction.
This article appeared in Strategic Insights (November 2003), v.2 no.11
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