Was It Ever Likely That Al Qaeda Would Become A Nuclear Threat?


John Mueller on what we've learned so far from bin Laden's files: "Whatever al Qaeda's threatening rhetoric and occasional nuclear fantasies, its potential as a menace, particularly as an atomic one, has been much inflated." Read his argument here.

NEXT: Is Rick Perry a Theocrat?

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  1. the issue was dirty bombs not mushroom clouds. course team boosch preferred fearmongering & rumor.

  2. dont call me team boosch

    1. I agree with you dick. That honor currently belongs to my administration.

  3. In all fairness, I doubt this “bin Laben” fellow knows much about al Qaeda.

    1. He is associated with a splinter group, al Qaeba

      1. I HATE splinter terrorists!

        The other day, I found a few splinters in my foot. They really suck.

        Down with splinter terrorism!

        1. How in hell did they get those past TSA?

      2. Splitters!

    2. Thank you veby buch. It’s been bixed.

  4. “in 2007, the physicist Richard Garwin assessed the likelihood of a nuclear explosion in an American or a European city by terrorism or other means in the next ten years to be 87 percent”

    I had to note that this cannot yet be disproved with any certainty.

    I always thought that the supposed threat was that Al Qaeda or the like would obtain a nuclear device from a broke former Soviet satellite state, or from a government like Pakistan’s, with friendly people in it.

    I can’t say what the odds are, and it always seems like threats are greatly exaggerated, to serve the purposes of those in power. That observation goes far beyond the United States.

    But I’m not sure what this article was refuting. How many serious people in the intelligence community believed that Al Qaeda had its own Manhattan Project?

    1. BTW my first sentence was meant as a joke. That doesn’t seem obvious, on a re-read.

    2. 911 was Al Queda’s Manhattan project.

  5. In the movies, stealing nuclear weapons is easy. So of course “people” just expected Osama to pinch a few.

  6. I think the more immediate question is whether Rick Perry will become a nuclear threat.

    1. Bachman is the new Palin, but STOP THE PRESSES! Perry has shot to the #1 spot so he is now square, provincial and dumb.
      After a while you’d think people would catch onto this play.

  7. No. It was not. Anyone who says so is either a fear-monger or a bed-wetter.

    1. There was a lot of bed wetting back in the day: the Anthrax attack, the “deadly afghan winter”. Weenies all over, left and right.

    2. Those conditions are not either/or. I’m deathly afraid of generated crises.

  8. The thing about nukular nutbars is that, even when you discount the risk for low probability, you are still left with a catastrophic risk.

    Of course, the easiest way to deal with that risk is at the source – Iran, Pakistan, Russia.

    1. I submit that the risk of dying in an asteroid strike is higher, if you multiply the exceedingly low probability with the beyond catastrophic consequence.

  9. So, without ever coming close to a nuclear bomb or carrying out another successful attack since 9/11, Al Queda has succeeded in getting the US to squander trillions in stupid wars and equally stupid “homeland security”, massively violate the rights of citizens, tear up the Constitution and implement a surveillance state.

    It would seem, then, that the terrorists have won.

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