Chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear threats to Homeland security

In your opinion how would you measure “surpass the events of 9/11”?

In response to below if you can please…

The initial attempt to topple the Twin Towers by Islamic radicals, the release of toxic chemicals by a religious cult in the Tokyo subway system, the bombing of the Oklahoma Federal Building by Christian white supremacists, and the second more successful attack on the Twin Towers on 9/11 are a far cry from the days of terrorism promoted by nationalistic desires.  Previously terrorism consisted of hijackings and small suicide bombings. Unfortunately, the bar has been raised and the motivation to surpass the success of 9/11 may be a factor in the desire for certain terrorist groups to search out weapons of mass destruction.

  When you look at Al-Qaeda, numerous “aligned” sub groups claim affiliation with “Al-Qaeda”, so they all in a sense have a different capability to gain access to and use chemicals.  If one of the larger AQ affiliated groups were able to gain control over some chemicals, their most likely use of them would be in a low yield explosive device to not completely burn up the chemical.  I would guess it to be similar to pressure cooker bombs of Boston, just not in the US.  It would be in an area of western interest abroad like the Bali or Mumbai bombings.  They would look to disperse the agent across a wide area where many people would be affected because of them being in a crowded outdoor / club setting.  I say abroad as there are still many places worldwide where the security measures are not as they are in the US.  At the same time though, they are not as big a target as the US is really, but terrorist look for that “soft” target.  It is not that the chemicals are not out there, so it is just a matter of time before one of these countries become a failed state and the munitions are “less” secure than they currently are. 

  Former Secretary of State Clinton during a global conference to review the Biological Weapons Convention banning biological and toxic weapons at the United Nations stated, “A crude but effective terrorist weapon can be made by using a small sample of widely available pathogens, inexpensive equipment and college-level chemistry and biology” (Reuters 2007, np). That is a scary thought. No matter the reason, it does go to show how easily a group with the finances and right motivation can develop such deadly CBRN weapons and utilize them as well.  As Yamin points out, CBW’s not only are they, the poor man’s choice of the WMD’s they are also easy to manufacture and deliver. (Yamin 2013, p.1) As those methods become easier to develop internally future attacks, utilizing chemical or biological agents could kill scores.  This would result in panic and loss of confidence in the government and authorities fulfilling multiple goals of a group.  As the goals of groups and individuals change and evolve the threat of the use of a CBRN weapon in furtherance of those goals, can and probably will change. 


Reuters. 2007. Terror threat from biological weapons growing, warns Hillary Clinton. National Post. (accessed August 8, 2013).

Yamin, Tughral. “Chemical and Biological Weapons: Positions, Prospects and Trends.” Policy  Perspectives 10, no. 1. (Jun 30, 2013) (accessed August 8, 2013).

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