- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 31, 2002

The danger of a terrorist attack with chemical, biological or nuclear weapons has increased since the September 11 strikes, the CIA said in a report made public yesterday.
U.S. intelligence also "uncovered rudimentary diagrams of nuclear weapons inside a suspected al Qaeda safehouse in Kabul," said the semiannual report on arms proliferation from January to June 2001.
"These diagrams, while crude, describe essential components uranium and high-explosives common to nuclear weapons," it said.
Several of the 30 foreign terrorist groups and other non-state terrorists around the world "have expressed interest" in obtaining biological, chemical and nuclear arms.
However, terrorists likely will continue to favor "proven conventional tactics such as bombing and shootings," the report said.
As in earlier reports, the CIA identified Russia, China and North Korea as "key suppliers" of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons materials and missile-delivery systems.
For the first time, the report included a section on the use by terrorists of unconventional weapons.
According to the report, Osama bin Laden and groups allied with him are interested in "staging unconventional attacks" and have sought materials to develop chemical, biological and nuclear weapons since the early 1990s.
"Bin Laden and his organization continue to make public statements about unconventional weapons, which could be an attempt to justify the use of such weapons," the report said.
The CIA said it had "no credible reporting" that terrorists had purchased or stolen nuclear weapons or sufficient material to produce them. "Gaps in our reporting, however, make this an issue of ongoing concern," the report said.
Bin Laden, the report said, stated in 1988 that he viewed the acquisition of weapons of mass destruction as a "religious duty," and press reports have stated that he has nuclear weapons to use as a deterrent against the United States.
Terrorists are most interested in acquiring chemicals such as cyanide salts that could be used to contaminate food or water supplies or to assassinate people, and chlorine for nerve agents, the report said.
Regarding state-sponsored arms proliferation, Russia sold ballistic missile-related goods to Iran, India, China and Libya, and continued to provide nuclear materials to Iran, the report said.
As for Moscow's efforts to stop arms proliferation, the CIA stated that "the Russian government's commitment, willingness and ability to curb proliferation-related transfers remain uncertain."
North Korea exported "significant" ballistic missile goods to the Middle East, South Asia and North Africa during the first half of last year, the report said.
"Pyongyang attaches a high priority to the development and sale of ballistic missiles, equipment, and related technology," the report said.
China was a major proliferator of missiles in 2001, supplying Pakistan with missile-related technical assistance, the report said.
"Pakistan has been moving toward domestic serial production of solid-propellant [short-range ballistic missiles] with Chinese help," the CIA stated. "Pakistan also needs continued Chinese assistance to support development of the two-stage Shaheen II [medium-range ballistic missile]."
Such assistance would violate China's November 2000 pledge not to help any nation build missiles that could deliver nuclear weapons.
China also sold missile-related items to Iran, North Korea and Libya during the first half of 2001, the report said.
The CIA said contacts between Chinese and Iranian nuclear "entities" indicate that China may be violating its 1997 pledge to limit cooperation with Iran on a uranium-conversion plant that could be used to build nuclear weapons.
The State Department is "seeking to address these questions" with the Chinese, the report said.
The report also said that China had supplied chemical arms equipment to Iran before 2001 and that there were continuing efforts by Iran to buy more equipment.
The State Department last week imposed sanctions on China for sales of chemical weapons-related equipment.


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