Sunday, March 21, 2004 <---- 8 Months ago
Over at Command Post , Michele passes along this AP story:
Osama bin Laden's terror network claims to have bought ready-made nuclear weapons on the black market in central Asia, the biographer of al-Qaida's No. 2 leader was quoted as telling an Australian television station.
In an interview scheduled to be televised on Monday, Pakistani journalist Hamid Mir said Ayman al-Zawahri claimed that "smart briefcase bombs" were available on the black market. It was not clear when the interview between Mir and al-Zawahri took place.
U.S. intelligence agencies have long believed that al-Qaida attempted to acquire a nuclear device on the black market, but say there is no evidence it was successful.
In the interview with Australian Broadcasting Corp. television, parts of which were released Sunday, Mir recalled telling al-Zawahri it was difficult to believe that al-Qaida had nuclear weapons when the terror network didn't have the equipment to maintain or use them.
"Dr Ayman al-Zawahri laughed and he said 'Mr. Mir, if you have $30 million, go to the black market in central Asia, contact any disgruntled Soviet scientist, and a lot of ... smart briefcase bombs are available,'" Mir said in the interview.
Osama given OK to nuke Yanks: expert
November 13, 2004 <----- This week
Osama Bin Laden has been granted religious approval to use a nuclear bomb against Americans, according to the CIA's former top Al Qaeda expert.
The former official, Michael Scheuer, tells CBS' "60 Minutes" on tomorrow's broadcast that Bin Laden was given written authority by a Saudi sheik.
The sheik "found that [Bin Laden] was perfectly within his rights" to use nukes.
"Muslims argue that the United States is responsible for millions of dead Muslims around the world, so reciprocity would mean you could kill millions of Americans," Scheuer says.
Scheuer, who resigned yesterday, was the head of the CIA unit charged with tracking Bin Laden from 1996 to 1999, and the previously anonymous author of two books critical of the West's response to Bin Laden and Al Qaeda. He's been tracking Bin Laden since the mid-1980s.
Scheuer tells "60 Minutes" that American leaders have made a mistake by characterizing Bin Laden as "a thug, a gangster" rather than a disciplined plotter of destruction.
"Until we respect him, sir, we are going to die in numbers that are probably unnecessary," he says. The Al Qaeda mastermind was involved in the original planning for the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. He also charged that former CIA Director George Tenet failed to provide the agency's Bin Laden unit with sufficient manpower.
In the interview, Scheuer says that even if Bin Laden had a nuclear weapon, he probably would not have used it before without the authority of the sheik.
Don Singleton - New York Daily News