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CIA: al-Qaida Strikes Likely to Be Small

Small-scale attacks by al-Qaida using chemical, biological, nuclear or radiological agents are more likely than large attacks that cause mass casualties, the CIA says. In a report describing the means by which terrorists might obtain and use such weapons, the agency said Osama bin Laden’s network could easily build a radiological dispersal device, or “dirty bomb,” that could be used to create panic and enormous economic damage, but not mass casualties. The unclassified report was prepared last month by the agency’s Directorate of Intelligence as a sort of tutorial for government disaster-response teams on al-Qaida’s interest in weapons of mass destruction and the medical aspects of specific chemical and biological agents, CIA spokesman Bill Harlow said Tuesday. The report reiterates the assertion that al-Qaida’s ultimate goal is the use of chemical, biological, nuclear or radiological weapons to cause mass casualties. But it makes no claims about recent progress toward that goal. Full Story

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