Washington, June 12 (IANS via Yahoo!) Citing the 'clandestine nuclear trafficking network' of A.Q. Khan, known as the father of Pakistan's atom bomb, the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has warned other countries that the 'threat of nuclear terrorism is all too real'.
'The economics of supply and demand dictate that someone, somewhere, will provide nuclear material to the highest bidder, and that material will end up in the hands of terrorists,' FBI Director Robert Mueller said an international conference Monday, noting that 'several rogue nations - and even individuals - seek to develop nuclear capabilities'.
'A.Q. Khan, for example, was not only the father of Pakistan's nuclear bomb, he peddled that technology to North Korea, Libya and Iran. Khan was one of many to prove that it is indeed a seller's market in the so-called atomic bazaar,' he said while addressing a 30-nation 'Global Initiative Nuclear Terrorism Conference' in Miami, Florida.
'The economics of supply and demand dictate that someone, somewhere, will provide nuclear material to the highest bidder, and that material will end up in the hands of terrorists,' Mueller said.
Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales also cited Khan's example to stress that 'the threat of nuclear terrorism is all too real'.
'We know, for example, that Al Qaeda has been trying to acquire or make nuclear weapons for over 10 years. Indeed, Osama bin Laden has indicated that he considers the acquisition of weapons of mass destruction to be an obligation for his followers,' he said.
'And the discovery of A.Q. Khan's clandestine nuclear trafficking network demonstrates that the international black market for nuclear weaponry includes both buyers and sellers,' Gonzales said.
Mueller added that Al Qaeda has demonstrated a clear intent to acquire weapons of mass destruction.
In 1993, Osama bin Laden attempted to buy uranium from a source in the Sudan. He has stated that it is Al Qaeda's duty to acquire weapons of mass destruction. And he has made repeated recruiting pitches for experts in chemistry, physics, and explosives to join his terrorist movement.
'Bin Laden is no small thinker. Prior to 2001, (Pakistani national) Khalid Sheikh Mohammed - the mastermind of the Sep 11 attacks - suggested flying a small plane filled with explosives into CIA Headquarters,' Mueller said.
As noted by the 9/11 Commission, bin Laden reportedly asked him, 'Why do you use an axe when you can use a bulldozer?'
'If 9/11 was the 'bulldozer' of which bin Laden spoke, we can only imagine the impact of a full-scale nuclear attack,' the FBI chief said.
'Unfortunately, Al Qaeda central is not our only concern. We face threats from other terrorist cells around the world, and from home grown terrorists who are not affiliated with Al Qaeda, but who are inspired by its message of hatred and violence,' he said.
Attended, among others, by the US, Russia, Canada, China, Britain, Egypt, Morocco, Germany, France, Israel and Japan, the conference aims to build the capabilities of partner nations to investigate, prevent and respond to sudden strikes by terrorists using nuclear devices or other radioactive materials.
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