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Posted: 11/11/2001 8:46:11 PM EST
[url]http://www.nytimes.com/2001/11/11/international/11TERR.html[/url] Interesting that the Administration seems to want to take these places intact rather than bomb them. Particularly interesting that the International Comittee of the Red Cross financed and provided technical support for facilities known to have "dual use" capability.
Link Posted: 11/12/2001 1:43:14 AM EST
Link Posted: 11/12/2001 9:39:35 AM EST
[Last Edit: 11/12/2001 9:34:57 AM EST by ArmdLbrl]
Awww shit Funny I can get to it just by clicking on it...
Link Posted: 11/12/2001 9:44:39 AM EST
November 11, 2001 Al Qaeda Sites Point to Tests of Chemicals By JAMES RISEN and JUDITH MILLER ASHINGTON, Nov. 10 — The United States has identified sites in Afghanistan that are suspected of involvement in Osama bin Laden's efforts to acquire and produce chemical and biological weapons, but none have been bombed since the military campaign began, according to American military and intelligence officials. The American bombing has spared the sites even though American intelligence officials believe that Al Qaeda may already have produced cyanide gas at one of them, a crude chemical weapons research laboratory in Derunta, a small village near the eastern Afghan city of Jalalabad. American officials say the intelligence reports showing the possible production of small quantities of cyanide gas provide the strongest indication they have received of Al Qaeda's success in its efforts to develop chemical weapons. Cyanide gas can be used to kill small numbers of people, but it is not easily deployed on a large scale, officials say. The intelligence reports indicating cyanide gas production bolster the United States intelligence community's overall assessment that Al Qaeda is eager to obtain weapons of mass destruction but so far has only developed crude capabilities, several officials said. In addition to the Derunta chemical weapons site, American intelligence and military officials say a fertilizer plant in Mazar-i- Sharif, which the Northern Alliance captured on Friday, had been under the control of the Taliban and Al Qaeda. American officials say the fertilizer plant is near a compound that has been used by Osama bin Laden and his organization, and intelligence analysts suspected that Al Qaeda had been interested in the plant because its equipment can be used to produce either biological or chemical weapons. The fertilizer plant "is high on everybody's list" of sites suspected of involvement in Al Qaeda's chemical and biological weapons efforts, a United States military official said. It is not clear whether the Northern Alliance offensive has taken the plant out of Taliban and Al Qaeda control. An anthrax-vaccine site in Kabul has also raised concerns among intelligence analysts. The International Committee of the Red Cross had been believed to be operating the plant, which was established to produce vaccine for livestock in Afghanistan to protect them from anthrax. But American intelligence officials now say they do not believe the Red Cross controls the site, and Red Cross officials acknowledge that while it has provided funds for the plant, it is being operated by the Taliban's Ministry of Agriculture. A senior State Department official said that American experts had told him it would be difficult for Al Qaeda to use the anthrax-vaccine plant to produce anthrax weapons, and Red Cross officials have said the material produced in the laboratory is harmless. But American officials say they still believe that it is important to deny Al Qaeda operatives access to such a laboratory and any equipment it might contain. Senior officials at the White House, the Pentagon and the Central Intelligence Agency refused to say why the suspect sites have not been bombed one month into the American military campaign. White House officials declined to comment when asked if the decision not to bomb the sites represented a high-level decision by the administration.
Link Posted: 11/12/2001 9:45:40 AM EST
But the strategy seems at odds with President Bush's statements last week about the threat posed by Al Qaeda's efforts to acquire weapons of mass destruction. In a speech on Tuesday, the president warned that Al Qaeda was "seeking chemical, biological and nuclear weapons," and said that if the group acquired such weapons it would represent "a threat to every nation and, eventually, to civilization itself." Despite the president's statements, the decision not to strike the suspect sites appears to result from a deep sense of caution among senior government officials about the quality of the intelligence collected about the sites, as well as the possible unintended political and diplomatic consequences of attacks on dual-use facilities.Collecting intelligence about facilities of this sort is an inexact science at best; intelligence officials and policy makers have learned from past mistakes to be wary when using such information. After the terrorist bombings of two American embassies in East Africa in August 1998, President Bill Clinton ordered cruise missile strikes on the Al Shifa pharmaceutical factory in Khartoum, Sudan, which officials believed was connected to Al Qaeda. But the United States was heavily criticized after it became clear that the evidence linking the plant to Al Qaeda was weak, and that the C.I.A. had been unaware that the plant's ownership had changed well before the cruise missile attack. The bombing of the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade during the Kosovo war in 1999 also haunts the C.I.A.; analysts mistakenly believed that the building was the headquarters of a Serbian government agency involved in weapons proliferation. During the Persian Gulf war, United States officials engaged in strenuous debates over what to do about sites in Iraq that were suspected of involvement in Saddam Hussein's secret program to develop weapons of mass destruction. There was concern about the accuracy of the intelligence, and also about whether bombing raids would release dangerous chemicals or biological weapons into the atmosphere. After the war, American officials realized that in many cases their information had been incorrect and they had bombed the wrong sites, while many of the real weapons facilities had gone unscathed. One official said the Bush administration was worried that complaints might be made charging that the United States was destroying the public health and agricultural sites of Afghanistan. The official added that such dual-use targets — which could be employed to make fertilizer and vaccines, or chemical weapons and anthrax — were being deliberately avoided for that reason. Still, Al Qaeda has shown an eagerness to use whatever weapons it can obtain against American targets in its terrorist operations, and that makes its efforts to acquire chemical and biological weapons particularly worrisome to United States intelligence officials. The official intelligence assessment is that Al Qaeda has a "crude chemical — and possibly biological — capability," a Pentagon official said recently. In addition to the small quantities of cyanide gas that it may have produced, the terrorist group may also have experimented with other crude poisons such as chlorine and phosgene.
Link Posted: 11/12/2001 9:46:38 AM EST
United States officials said that intelligence reports of possible cyanide gas production at the Derunta site have been received for at least a year, and suggest an intense effort by Al Qaeda to experiment with virtually any poison it can obtain. The officials added, however, that they have no evidence that any other countries, including Iraq, have aided Al Qaeda's efforts to obtain such poisons. In addition, they stress that they do not have definitive evidence that Al Qaeda has actually produced the cyanide gas at Derunta. One senior official said that the belief that Al Qaeda may have produced cyanide gas is based in part on intelligence reports showing that the terrorist group has obtained instruction manuals on how to produce such poisons. Intelligence officials also stress that cyanide gas would be very difficult to turn into an effective large- scale terrorist weapon, since it is hard to transport and would dissipate rapidly in a large open space. And intelligence officials say they do not believe that Al Qaeda has yet found a way to make weapons from the poison. "They do have some primitive capabilities, but the problem is weaponizing," a senior official said. "All of the evidence is that they have not been able to do that." Meanwhile, a senior Bush administration official said that there had been concerns about reports of suspicious activity at the fertilizer plant in Mazar-i-Sharif for some time. The plant may have been spared in anticipation of a Northern Alliance takeover of the town, an administration official said. The anthrax vaccine plant in Kabul has received more attention since the United States military campaign began, in part because of concerns over whether Al Qaeda is behind the anthrax letters in the United States. American intelligence officials say they have no evidence linking Al Qaeda and the anthrax letters. But the alarm over the use of anthrax as a weapon has heightened American concerns over the presence of the laboratory in Kabul. In fact, American national security officials say they were taken by surprise when they learned after Sept. 11 that the Red Cross had provided funds to refurbish the plant in 1997, after the Taliban had come to power. Copyright 2001 The New York Times Company | Privacy Information [/quote]
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