Al-Qaida nuclear attack in planning stages

New Delhi TV News' Lalit K. Jha reports:

Al-Qaida's nuclear attack against the US is in planning stages, top American intelligence officials have said. (Among others) Rolf Mowatt-Larssen, the director of Office of Intelligence and Counterintelligence for the Department of Energy testified before the Congressional committee on Congressional Committee on Homeland Security on April 2.

Mowatt-Larssen said the US successes against Taliban in Afghanistan have yielded volumes of information that completely changed its view of Al-Qaida's nuclear program. ''We learned that Al-Qaida wants a weapon to use, not a weapon to sustain and build a stockpile, as most states would,'' he said.

'The nuclear threats that surfaced in June 2002 and continued through the fall of 2003 demonstrated that Al-Qaida's desire for a nuclear capability may have survived their removal from their Afghanistan safe haven,'' he said.

Observing that the Al-Qaida's nuclear intent remains clear, he said it obtained a fatwa in May 2003 that approved the use of weapons of mass destruction. Al-Qaida spokesman Suleyman Abu Ghayth declared that it is Al-Qaida's right to kill four million Americans in retaliation for Muslim deaths that Al-Qaida blames on the United States.

''Osama bin Laden said in 1998 that it was an Islamic duty to acquire weapons of mass destruction. In 2006, bin Laden reiterated his statement that Al-Qaida will return to the United States.

He said Al-Qaida has a track record of returning to finish a job they started. They failed at the World Trade Center in 1993. They came back in 2001. They canceled plans for chemical attacks in the US in 2003. ''We do not yet know when and where they intend to strike us next, but our past experience strongly suggests they are seeking an attack more spectacular than 9/11,'' he said.

''To delve a little into how they may be thinking about the nuclear option, at any given moment, Al-Qaida probably has attack plans in development. Nine-eleven was planned when the USS Cole was attacked in Yemen and when our embassies in Dar es Salaam and Tanzania were attacked in Africa,'' he said.

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