Al-Qaeda focusing on WMD?
A disturbing report from the LA Times...
After a U.S. airstrike leveled a small compound in Pakistan's lawless tribal regions in January 2006, President Pervez Musharraf and his intelligence officials announced that several senior Al Qaeda operatives had been killed, and that the top prize was an elusive Egyptian who was believed to be a chemical weapons expert.
But current and former U.S. intelligence officials now believe that the Egyptian, Abu Khabab Masri, is alive and well -- and in charge of resurrecting Al Qaeda's program to develop or obtain weapons of mass destruction.
Given the problems with previous U.S. intelligence assessments of weapons of mass destruction, officials are careful not to overstate Al Qaeda's capabilities, and they emphasize that there is much they don't know because of the difficulty in getting information out of the mountainous area of northwest Pakistan where the network has reestablished itself.
But they say Al Qaeda has regenerated at least some of the robust research and development effort that it lost when the U.S. military bombed its Afghanistan headquarters and training camps in late 2001, and they believe it is once again trying to develop or obtain chemical, biological, radiological and even nuclear weapons to use in attacks on the United States and other enemies.
For now, the intelligence officials believe, that effort is largely focused on developing and using cyanide, chlorine and other poisons that are unlikely to cause the kind of mass-casualty attack that is usually associated with weapons of mass destruction.