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CIA highlights al-Qaeda's quest for chemical, biological, nuclear arms

Al-Qaeda is working to acquire biological, chemical and nuclear weapons, the CIA said, as G8 leaders backed a US plan to thwart terrorist attacks involving aircraft and radioactive “dirty bombs.” “Al-Qaeda and associated extremist groups have a wide variety of potential agents and delivery means to choose from for chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear attacks,” the US Central Intelligence Agency said in a report obtained by AFP Tuesday. The report — entitled “Terrorist CBRN: Materials and Effects,” referring to chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear weapons — noted that several al-Qaeda-associated groups have tried to carry out attacks in Europe “with easily produced chemicals and toxins best suited to assassination and small-scale scenarios.” A US official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the report contained information that had been available “for years” and was merely intended as a “reference tool.” The unclassified report — dated May 2003 — noted that a review of an al-Qaeda document found in Afghanistan last summer “indicates the group has crude procedures for making mustard agent, sarin and VX.” Full Story

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