Video: al-Qaeda working on chemical weapons?

posted at 4:41 pm on September 19, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

According to documents filed in federal court by the US Attorney’s office in New York, al-Qaeda may soon acquire WMD through its own development rather than seizing them on the battlefield — although the battlefield in this case is Somalia, not Syria. When might that happen? CBS’ John Miller says the documents don’t answer that question, but the fact that their project has advanced this far creates a significant concern for American counter-terrorism efforts:

A new document filed in a still-developing terrorism case in New York seems to confirm the long-held fear that al Qaeda is working to develop chemical weapons.

On Wednesday, CBS News obtained a document filed by the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York indicating that three men charged with being members of the al-Shabab terrorist group in Somalia had “substantial knowledge regarding an al-Shabaab research and development department that was developing chemical weapons.”

CBS News senior correspondent John Miller told “CBS This Morning” the lead defendant in the case, Mahdi Hashi, and two others were arrested in August, 2012, by African authorities while allegedly on their way to Yemen. They are charged with participating in a weapons and training program with al-Shabab over a four-year period beginning in 2008. …

Miller notes that neither the new court document, nor, to his knowledge, current U.S. intelligence, reveal a clear timeline regarding when al Qaeda might actually be able to produce a finished chemical weapons agent or gain the capacity to use such a weapon against the United States.

Miller adds, however, that the mere “idea that they have a department and that they have capable, knowledgeable people in that department who are striving towards it is … very concerning” to U.S. intelligence organizations.

The concern isn’t new, of course, nor is word of AQ efforts on WMD.  In May, CNN’s Peter Bergen reported on AQ’s pursuit of chemical weapons in the context of Syria.  In fact, al-Qaeda in Iraq managed to make crude chlorine bombs in 2006 and 2007 as they attempted to create a widespread civil war, but the chemical component of the explosives turned out to be less than effective.  One source counted 16 such attacks before the surge put an end to AQ’s experimentation in Iraq.

At that time, AQ leadership warned its affiliates about the blowback from using chemical weapons, both literally and figuratively, but only in the context of discrediting their movement rather than humanitarian concerns:

The use of such weapons has been a matter of some debate within the leadership of al Qaeda.

In documents found by the U.S. Navy SEALs who raided Osama bin Laden’s compound two years ago in Abbottabad, Pakistan, there was a letter written by bin Laden five days before he was killed in which he urged his followers in Yemen who were considering using “poison” to be “careful of doing it without enough study of all aspects, including political and media reaction.”

As we consider the conflicting reports of the use of chemical weapons that have emerged from Syria over the past weeks, it is worth recalling that the al Qaeda affiliate in Syria has in the past used crude chemical weapons on multiple occasions in neighboring Iraq.

Also al Qaeda’s leaders such as bin Laden have pushed back on the use of such weapons only insofar as their use might damage the image of al Qaeda in the eyes of the Muslim public, not because of international norms that the use of these weapons is beyond the pale.

Ironically, this is actually an argument for a military response to Bashar al-Assad’s use of chemical weapons against AQ and other rebels in Syria. A lack of action could convince AQ that the political and strategic blowback for using WMD will be minimal and/or ineffective, and we could see more of it as a result.  However, AQ-I didn’t hesitate anyway in 2006-7, and the Somali effort appears to predate Assad’s use of the weapons in Syria.

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Video: al-Qaeda working on chemical weapons?

This is exactly why we need to bomb Assad. It’s absurd that al Qaeda is working on obtaining chemical weapons. If we topple Assad, we can give them directly to al Qaeda. Think of all the R&D cost-savings for Somalia! The Somalis could then take that money and spend it on more productive activities… like piracy.

Stoic Patriot on September 19, 2013 at 4:46 PM

Since Hussein has been arming mexican drug cartels and alqaeda+muzie bros , how do we know he is not enabling islamic terrorists to get their chemical/biological weapons too ?

burrata on September 19, 2013 at 4:49 PM

this is actually an argument for a military response to Bashar al-Assad’s use of chemical weapons against AQ and other rebels in Syria.

Actually, it lends more credence to the Russian story that it was a rebel group that used chem weapons in Syria.

ROCnPhilly on September 19, 2013 at 4:52 PM

Didn’t they already use some in Damascus?

besser tot als rot on September 19, 2013 at 4:53 PM

This is exactly why we need to bomb Assad. It’s absurd that al Qaeda is working on obtaining chemical weapons. If we topple Assad, we can give them directly to al Qaeda. Think of all the R&D cost-savings for Somalia! The Somalis could then take that money and spend it on more productive activities… like piracy.

Stoic Patriot on September 19, 2013 at 4:46 PM

You’re limiting your targets too much – it actually is a reason to bomb both Assad and AQ-Syria, as both sure seem to have used chemical weapons.

BTW, how do you thnk AQ-Somalia is financing their chemical weapons research?

Steve Eggleston on September 19, 2013 at 4:53 PM

One source counted 16 such attacks before the surge put an end to AQ’s experimentation in Iraq.

Bawwwhhhhahahhhaaa…..the surge put an end to AQ’s experimentation in Iraq ?????? No way !
IIRC, that surge was a huge failure and the war was lost after that .

burrata on September 19, 2013 at 4:55 PM

That’s awesome!

You know, I was beginning to think that I was going to die a natural death at the end of my lifespan, but now my buddies in AQ (and Barry’s buddies, too!) are going to make my demise eventful!

Makes me almost want to buy tickets!

We had best wake up as a nation to the plain fact that AQ, while far from dead, is still a viable threat specifically and Islam a threat generally. The world cannot abide a modern twenty-first century society at the same time as a seventh century death cult. One of us has got to go.

The problem is that Obama and the rest of the progressives want Islam to win.

turfmann on September 19, 2013 at 5:00 PM

Video: al-Qaeda working on chemical weapons?

Can anyone see my “Alarmed” look??

At this point, al-Qaeda could be hauling out F*cking
Daisy Cutters from terminals here stateside, and
government officials would call a meeting to figure out
how it happened…..

ToddPA on September 19, 2013 at 5:00 PM

Sooo, I’m guessing that Obama exempting himself from the law prohibiting running guns to Al Qaeda is starting to have a little more meaning to some folks now, hmmmm?

Again, I’m really curious about when the impeachment hearings are going to start. Now THAT would be some good TV.

Meople on September 19, 2013 at 5:00 PM

Well good luck AQ..again the planning norm is one ton of agent per kilometre to be attacked. The crazies in Tokyo did not manage to achieve much with their Sarin attack. IF AQ, has access to enough precursor material and the sophisticated plant necessary to produce useful amounts of chemicals, we’ve lost the war….think sizable refinery, with glass-lined pipes, kilometres of glass-lined pipes, and TONS of precursor….

JFKY on September 19, 2013 at 5:00 PM

Now you see – Obama’s buddies would have no problem using chemical weapons….or nukes, or bio-weapons…..the caliphate must destroy all the nonbelievers. I guess Obama is a believer? He did go to an Islamic school in his youth.

redguy on September 19, 2013 at 5:02 PM

Can anyone see my “Alarmed” look??

At this point, al-Qaeda could be hauling out F*cking
Daisy Cutters from terminals here stateside, and
government officials would call a meeting to figure out
how it happened…..

ToddPA on September 19, 2013 at 5:00 PM

You’re mostly right. While Republicans would be calling for hearings, the Obama Regime, with Holder and his Department of Social Justice would be busy with cases of big Sharpie markers redacting documents as fast as they can.

And of course the State-Run media would be doing their best to blame someone in the Tea Party.

Meople on September 19, 2013 at 5:05 PM

Obambi, time for another RED LINE

rjoco1 on September 19, 2013 at 5:07 PM

I blame Obama.

DarkCurrent on September 19, 2013 at 5:12 PM

How does one level a meniscus while running?

rogerb on September 19, 2013 at 5:15 PM

Nobel Peace Prize 2.0:

Syrian government says civil war has reached stalemate

Exclusive: Deputy PM says neither side is strong enough to win and government will call for ceasefire at Geneva talks

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/sep/19/syrian-government-civil-war-stalemate

davidk on September 19, 2013 at 5:15 PM

DarkCurrent on September 19, 2013 at 5:12 PM

As do I, but shouldn’t you be blaming BUSH?

JFKY on September 19, 2013 at 5:15 PM

Back before OIF started the Kurds reported that AQ was working on CWs with Saddam’s help.

And the CIA found that CW testing facility that AQ had in Afghanistan where chemical agents were used on animals… and people…. plus they found manuals from the Iraqi CW group there.

So I’d say that it is a no-brainer that AQ has been working on CWs and just lack the necessary chemical precursors and laboratory space to get things going. Which the Syrian civil war has provided them.

What a lucky bunch, huh?

ajacksonian on September 19, 2013 at 5:26 PM

Anybody else (besides me) remember the pre-Afghanistan invasion vids being aired of AQ gassing cute puppies?

It’s on their wish list, and always has been… along with other lethal toys….

————————————————————————

Before this finally shakes out… shite gonna get real.

And before it’s all over (and I’m being optimistic)… a couple or so countries are gonna get scrubbed off the face of the earth.

‘Cause that’s the way it’s gonna end.

Mark my words.

CPT. Charles on September 19, 2013 at 5:44 PM

Shades of AUM Shinrikyo… remember those folks? Death Cult, charismatic leader, Sarin Gas attack on the Tokyo subway. They actually had done work on an anthrax device, even got the spores to the right size, freeze dried and all that fun stuff. Tried it out on a neighborhood and nothing happened… they had been given the wrong strain of anthrax. They got everything else right, though, the entire process.

So, once the Cult broke up one of its members who was heading up the bioweapons decided that she liked the Magical Kingdom of Mr. Kim.

And who is good friends with NoKo? Why, yes, Syria!

I wonder what Pappy Assad would have paid NoKo to get his hands on that process.

Syria is such a lovely place to have nothing to do with.

Kinda wonder if AQ is looking for some bioweapons ideas in Syria. Something a small group with decent finances could swing. Like AUM… only Islamic… of course AUM just wanted to help people from this life to the next one. AQ just wants us dead.

ajacksonian on September 19, 2013 at 6:01 PM

I thought Kerry and Obama saved the world from chemical weapons last week?

kcewa on September 19, 2013 at 6:07 PM

***

The problem is that Obama and the rest of the progressives want Islam to win.

turfmann on September 19, 2013 at 5:00 PM

It’s truly disheartening that too many–in their haste to elect an affirmative-action hack–voted for a black guy who absolutely loathes this country and everything it stands for.

BuckeyeSam on September 19, 2013 at 6:29 PM

Guess it would of been nice if Barry Blue Lips would of ordered OBL’s capture (the richest terror intel target on the face of the Earth)…. instead of order’n they bust a cap in his head as he surfed porn on the internet in his Olsen twins footie jammies.

roflmmfao

donabernathy on September 19, 2013 at 10:17 PM