Although the growing BW threat cannot be met by US Intelligence alone, our work will be crucial to defending American interests and protecting American lives. One of my greatest concerns is the serious prospect that Bin Ladin or another terrorist might use chemical or biological weapons. Bin Ladin's organization is just one of about a dozen terrorist groups that have expressed an interest in or have sought chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear CBRN agents. Bin Ladin, for example, has called the acquisition of these weapons a "religious duty" and noted that "how we use them is up to us.
President Khatami took office in August , but hardliners, such as Supreme leader Khamenei, continue to view terrorism as a legitimate tool of Iranian policy and they still control the institutions that can implement it. The scenarios of the future world I have posited by and large are the most probable ones as we see matters today. We are realistic enough to understand, however, that in our business the only certainly is that there are no certainties. The world may well be a far more benign place than I have portrayed it. Economic growth may be more rapid, for example, or terrorism could wane if despite the odds peace breaks out in the Mideast.
Alternatively, however, we could be in for a rockier ride than I have projected. Moreover, there has been a trend toward increasing lethality of attacks, especially against civilian targets. The most recent examples, of course, are the suicide bombings in Israel in and and the attacks on tourists in Luxor, Egypt last November. Perhaps most worrisome, we have seen in the last year growing indications of terrorist interest in acquiring chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons.
In addition, a confluence of recent developments increases the risk that individuals or groups will attack US interests. Terrorist passions have probably been inflamed by events ranging from the US Government's designation of 30 terrorist groups to the conviction and sentencing of Mir Almal Kasi and Ramzi Ahmed Yosuf as well as the ongoing US standoff with Iraq and frustration with the Middle East peace process. Among specific countries, Iran remains a major concern despite the election of a more moderate president.
Since President Khatami assumed office in August, Iran has continued to engage in activities, such as support for Hizballah and its Palestinian clients, that would not require his specific approval. Iraq, Sudan, and Libya also bear continued watching, both for their own activities and for their support of terrorist organizations. Ford Library Nov. As I look at the world today, it is clear to me that the potential for dangerous surprise is as great as ever. That is true whether I look at terrorist groups whose sole purpose is to harm American interests, the biological weapons that Saddam Hussein is still trying to build and to hide in Iraq, or the programs Iran has for building intermediate range missiles and nuclear weapons.
Let me say a few words about Israel's neighborhoods: a particularly dangerous neighborhood. Iran also is at the center of our analytical efforts, particularly its support for international terrorism, its efforts to develop a weapons of mass destruction program, and its obstruction of the peace process. We are carefully studying the moves of the new Iranian President Khatami. His focus, we expect, will be on the domestic issues that were at the heart of his campaign: less restrictive policies on social and cultural issues important to his constituencies of youth and women.
We recognize that Khatami represents a change for the Iranians, but we cannot lose sight of our key concerns about continuity in Iranian policy abroad, particularly its backing of Hizballah and Islamic Jihad and its WMD programs. For our adversaries, of course, technological inferiority will not mean acquiescence. Our enemies will attempt to blunt our military superiority in other ways: improving capabilities relative to their neighbors, and using unconventional and often asymmetric means-ranging from the increased use of terrorism to the possible use of weapons of mass destruction.
Because of the high cost in developing a nuclear capability, these countries will focus more on chemical and biological weapons. Their aims will be to threaten our allies, undermine our presence in their respective regions, and weaken US public support for use of the US military abroad. In sum, our military technological prowess will not be enough to guarantee that our interests will be protected, and we may find what some would call a "doctrine of massive technological superiority" as limited in the future as the doctrine of massive retaliation was forty years earlier.
Consider that: The communications revolution is adding 15 new web sites every minute.
CBRN defense - Wikipedia
We live in an age where year olds are creating web pages. Yet, just as the Internet has helped us to reach out to anyone with a telephone and a modem, new technology has also provided greater opportunities for terrorists, international criminals - and even hostile governments. Small wonder that these tools have been called "Weapons of Mass Disruption.
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