FBI’s Mueller: Bin Laden Wants to Strike U.S. Cities With Nuclear Weapons
Tuesday, May 15, 2007
Osama bin Laden and his terrorist group desperately want to obtain nuclear devices and explode them in American cities, especially New York and Washington, D.C., FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III tells NewsMax.
In an exclusive interview, Mueller also acknowledged that bin Laden is still active, though isolated. The director revealed that the Bureau believes the terrorist leader continues to communicate with al-Qaida cells, some of which remain in the U.S.
Mueller declined to say how often bin Laden communicates or to elaborate on the substance of his communications.
Other intelligence sources tell NewsMax that U.S. security efforts have forced bin Laden to return to "horse-and-buggy days" — avoiding electronic communications in favor of using trusted couriers.
But Mueller says though hemmed in, al-Qaida’s paramount goal is clear: to detonate a nuclear device that would kill hundreds of thousands of Americans.
In contrast to homegrown terrorists, al-Qaida is far more likely to be able to pull off such an attack.
Mueller admits the nuclear threat is so real he sometimes wakes up in the middle of the night worrying about that possibility.
"I think it would be very difficult to wipe out the United States, but you’d have hundreds of thousands of casualties from a nuclear device, depending on the size of that nuclear device," Mueller tells NewsMax.
A Lust for Destruction
Al-Qaida could obtain such a device in one of two ways.
"One is to obtain a nuclear device that’s already been constructed from one of the former Iron Curtain countries, and the other way is to put together the fissile material and the expertise and do an improvised nuclear device," Mueller says.
"And there’s no doubt that al-Qaida, if it had the capability, would go down either route to get a nuclear device."
Mueller also has little doubt as to al-Qaida’s likely targets.
"It would be someplace in the United States, in most likely Washington and or New York, depending on how many devices they have. Or both cities," Mueller says.
Because the U.S. has not been attacked in almost six years, Mueller worries that "we are in danger of becoming complacent."
"Al-Qaida is tremendously patient and thinks nothing about taking years to infiltrate persons in and finding the right personnel and opportunity to undertake an attack.
"And we cannot become complacent, because you look around the world, and whether it’s London or Madrid or Bali or recently Casablanca or Algiers, attacks are taking place."
Mueller adds the U.S. must remain vigilant. He says our security efforts must "adapt to the new threat landscape."
He then adds: "We are going to be hit at some point. It’s just a question of when and to what extent."