Al-Qaida has the time, materials and talent to assemble radioactive “dirty” bombs, according to leaked documents obtained by the London Telegraph
The cables, released on the WikiLeaks website, reveal that NATO security chiefs briefed leaders in January 2009 that al-Qaida had an active unit assembling "dirty radioactive improvised explosive devices (IEDs)” using rogue nuclear scientists.
The makeshift nuclear bombs, which could be used against soldiers fighting in Afghanistan, would contaminate the surrounding area for years to come, the Telegraph reported.
The security officials also told leaders that al-Qaida papers found in 2007 convinced security officials that "greater advances" had been made in bio-terrorism than was previously feared.
In 2008, American officials were warned that terrorists had "the technical competence to manufacture an explosive device beyond a mere dirty bomb."
The leaked reports also gave examples of nuclear smuggling. One memo detailed how a freight train on the Kazakhstan-Russia border was found to be carrying weapons-grade material while a "small-time" dealer in Lisbon tried to sell radioactive plates stolen from Chernobyl, the Telegraph reported.
Another memo documented a January 2010 meeting between Janet Napolitano, US Secretary of Homeland Security, and European ministers in which the German interior minister revealed his concerns over aircraft security.
Thomas de Maiziere expressed his fear that terrorists could use "children's articles to introduce bombs into airplanes," according to the cable.
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