Wikileaks doc: Al Qaeda on the brink of a dirty bomb, feds seeking missing 9/11 suspects

posted at 9:12 pm on February 1, 2011 by Allahpundit

Drudge is giving this banner treatment but I’m not sure why. Of course Al Qaeda is on the brink of a dirty bomb. Their comrades-in-arms in the Taliban are the jihadist proxy of one of the world’s biggest nuclear proliferators, aren’t they? If the filthbags in Pakistani intelligence want Al Qaeda to have nuclear material, they’ll find a way to smuggle some out of the state supply, I’m sure. In fact, according to a new piece in the NYT, Pakistan’s practically swimming in fissile material these days. Never mind the dirty bombs; how long before AQ or Lashkar e-Taiba or some other arm of Pakistan’s terror apparatus has itself a fully-functioning atomic weapon?

New American intelligence assessments have concluded that Pakistan has steadily expanded its nuclear arsenal since President Obama came to office, and that it is building the capability to surge ahead in the production of nuclear-weapons material, putting it on a path to overtake Britain as the world’s fifth largest nuclear weapons power…

“We’ve seen a consistent, constant buildup in their inventory, but it hasn’t been a sudden rapid rise,” a senior American military official said. “We’re very, very well aware of what they’re doing.”…

But the bigger worry is the production of nuclear materials. Based on the latest estimates of the International Panel on Fissile Materials, an outside group that estimates worldwide nuclear production, experts say Pakistan has now produced enough material for 40 to 100 additional weapons, including a new class of plutonium bombs. If those estimates are correct — and some government officials regard them as high — it would put Pakistan on a par with long-established nuclear powers…

“The biggest concern of major production, to my mind, is theft from the places where the material is being handled in bulk — the plants that produce it, convert it to metal, fabricate it into bomb parts, and so on,” said Matthew Bunn, a Harvard scholar who compiles an annual report called “Securing the Bomb” for the group Nuclear Threat Initiative. “All but one of the real thefts” of highly enriched uranium and plutonium, he said, “were insider thefts from bulk-handling facilities — that’s where you can squirrel a little bit away without the loss being detected.”

Read the story being touted by Drudge and you’ll see that most of the Wikileaks docs come from 2009, which is already a different world from what’s happening in Pakistan today. Why they’re ramping up nuke production now, especially with their economy teetering, remains obscure, but according to one foreign analyst it’s simply to boast some sort of numerical advantage over their longtime nemesis India. Or maybe it’s a form of insurance against state collapse: The west will never let Pakistan crumble since it knows the consequences of letting influential lunatics in the government make off with the nuclear crown jewels. It’s precisely because Al Qaeda is perpetually on the brink of having a dirty bomb or something worse that we’re forced to be conciliatory with these cretins at all.

The other Wikileaks story being passed around tonight is more interesting and more inscrutable. Via the Telegraph, apparently there was a team of verrrry suspicious men from Qatar making some verrrry suspicious moves around the country right before 9/11. Among the remarkable coincidences: Possible surveillance of the World Trade Center shortly before the attack, “pilot-type uniforms” seen in their room by hotel housekeepers, and the fact that they were scheduled to fly from L.A. to D.C. on September 10 aboard the very same plane that ended up being steered into the Pentagon the next morning. (They ended up flying to London instead.) I’ve read the piece twice and still can’t decipher what the plot might have been. Were they going to try to use the uniforms to get past airport security somehow? No other 9/11 cell used that M.O. Were they going to plant weapons on the plane for the hijackers in D.C. to use the next morning? Again, there’s no evidence that any other cell had help like that. Maybe they were prepared to pull a hijacking of their own? But in that case, why’d they bug out to London instead of following through? All theories welcome.

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