RealNews

U.S. Holds Briton on Missile Charge

A British arms dealer was arrested today in Newark on charges that he tried to sell a Russian-made surface-to-air missile to an American undercover agent posing as an operative for Al Qaeda, law enforcement officials said. A shoulder-fired SA-18 missile and launcher, which had been made inoperable as part of a sting operation, were seized today by American investigators, acting with extensive help from Russian and British authorities, officials said. The missile, when armed, is capable of bringing down a commercial airliner. The case was, in effect, a complex double sting operation that unfolded over months. On one side the Russians, alerted by the American authorities, supplied the arms trader with the missile, which he tried to sell to American agents posing as terrorists. No real terrorists were ever connected to the plot. The arrest followed a series of urgent warnings from Bush administration officials that terrorists might use portable missiles against commercial aircraft. American aviation experts have been dispatched to Iraq and cities in Europe and Asia in recent weeks to assess the vulnerability of commercial airports to missile attacks. Whether the experts visited Russia is not clear. Full Story

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