FBI Director Robert Mueller warned Congress on Wednesday of ongoing al-Qaida efforts to acquire weapons of mass destruction to attack the United States.
“Al-Qaida remains committed to its goal of conducting attacks inside the United States,” Mueller told a House appropriations subcommittee. “Further, al-Qaida’s continued efforts to access chemical, biological, radiological, or nuclear material pose a serious threat to the United States.”
To accomplish its goals of new attacks on the American homeland, al-Qaida “seeks to infiltrate overseas operatives who have no known nexus to terrorism into the United States using both legal and illegal methods of entry,” Mueller said.
In February, Sheikh Abdullah al-Nasifi, a known al-Qaida recruiter in Kuwait, boasted on al Jazeera television that Mexico’s border with the United States was the ideal infiltration point for terrorists seeking to attack America.
“Four pounds of anthrax – in a suitcase this big – carried by a fighter through tunnels from Mexico into the U.S., are guaranteed to kill 330,000 Americans within a single hour if it is properly spread in population centers there,” al-Nasifi said.
"There is no need for airplanes, conspiracies, timings and so on. One person, with the courage to carry four pounds of anthrax, will go to the White House lawn, and will spread this 'confetti' all over them, and then will do these cries of joy. It will turn into a real 'celebration,'" al-Nasifi said. "9/11 will be small change in comparison. Am I right?"
Mueller echoed those threats in his congressional testimony Wednesday, reminding lawmakers that a 2008 National Intelligence Estimate on the threat of a terrorist WMD attack “concluded that it remains the intent of terrorist adversaries to seek the means and capability to use WMD against the United States at home and abroad.”
Citing the final report of the bipartisan Commission on the Prevention of WMD Proliferation and Terrorism issued in December 2008, he warned that “the risks are growing faster than our multilayered defenses” to prevent such an attack.
The WMD commission report warned that without urgent and decisive action, “it was more likely than not that terrorists would attack a major city somewhere in the world with a weapon of mass destruction by 2013.”
Although not discounting a possible terrorist nuclear attack, the commission concluded that “terrorists are more likely to obtain and use a biological weapon than a nuclear weapon,” and noted that this “conclusion was publicly affirmed by then Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell.”
“Osama bin Laden has said that obtaining WMDs [sic] is a 'religious duty' and is reported to have sought to perpetrate a 'Hiroshima' on United States soil,” Mueller told lawmakers. “Globalization makes it easier for terrorists, groups, and lone actors to gain access to and transfer WMD materials, knowledge, and technology throughout the world.”
The Obama administration is asking for major increases in funding to detect illicit nuclear material overseas and to help Russia to continue securing its nuclear weapons facilities, in an effort to prevent terrorists from gaining access to nuclear weapons material.
Mueller warned that “the margin of safety is shrinking, not growing.”
Mueller’s testimony is only the latest in a series of warnings from top intelligence officials that the threat of a terrorist WMD attack on America is growing.
At the annual global threats hearings on Feb. 2, the directors of the five major U.S. intelligence organizations told Sen. Diane Feinstein they were certain that terrorists would attempt another attack on the United States within three to six months.
Former CIA director Lt. Gen. Michael Hayden told Newsmax recently that his former agency has taken it as “a matter of faith” that, if al-Qaida obtained a nuclear weapon, they wouldn’t hesitate to use it against the United States. “If they had the ability, they would do it,” he told Newsmax.TV in an exclusive interview in March.
Editor's Note: Watch the Newsmax interview with Michael Hayden here.
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