Al Qaeda's continuing search for weapons of mass murder

Bill Gertz:

Al Qaeda terrorists are continuing to plan attacks against the United States and are seeking nuclear and other unconventional arms for the strikes, a senior Pentagon official told Congress yesterday.

Retired Air Force Lt. Gen. James Clapper, the undersecretary of defense for intelligence, told a joint House committee hearing that al Qaeda has conducted terrorist attacks against more than two dozen nations since September 11.

"Al Qaeda has and will continue to attempt visually dramatic mass-casualty attacks here at home, and they will continue to attempt to acquire chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear materials," Gen. Clapper said in discussing the National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) on threats to the United States. "And if they're so successful in obtaining these materials, we believe they would use them."

He spoke before a joint hearing of the House Armed Services Committee and House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.

Gen. Clapper said that al Qaeda has "reconstituted some of its command and support network" in tribal Pakistan along the Afghan border but that the estimates finding are "not a surprise."

"We are at war with an enemy not confined to national boundaries or a single ethnic group," he said. "Our fight against extremists in Iraq, Afghanistan and around the world has kept our nation safe from attacks here at home."

Gen. Clapper warned that al Qaeda is trying to develop or acquire from rogue states nuclear, chemical or biological weapons and said "we can be certain that they will use such weapons against the United States at their first opportunity, especially, if they can, on American soil to kill our citizens, destroy our property, disrupt our economy and attempt to break our national will to resist their extremist objectives."

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One of the reasons I think they do not have those weapons at this time is because if they did they would have used them. One of the unique aspects of al Qaeda as an enemy is its focus on murdering non combatants. That has been its primary focus in every attack including the ones in Iraq. It is what makes the Democrat's deranged objections tot he war in Iraq so ridiculous. What is even more frustrating is the unwillingness of the media to focus on the war crimes of the enemy and their egregious violations fo the Geneva Conventions. It is absurd to focus on Abu Ghraid as a violation of the Conventions and not say anything about the deliberate mass murder of non combatants.

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