Defense Intelligence Agency Detail Terror Threats
By Linda D.
Feb. 13, 2003 — North Korea has missiles capable of reaching
the West Coast of the United States.
Laden’s terrorist network has sophisticated biological weapons
Iraq has tested
unmanned aerial vehicles that could carry chemical and biological
weapons to Iraq’s neighbors and could be transported to the United
Agency Director George Tenet and Defense Intelligence Agency Director
Adm. Lowell Jacoby outlined the complexity and the severity of
these threats before the Senate Armed Services Committee Feb.
that on Feb. 7 President Bush raised the homeland security threat
condition to "orange," designating a high likelihood
of attack. The CIA chief said raising the threat level buys U.S.
officials more time to operate against those plotting to harm
vigilance generates additional information and leads," he
currently have information that points to plots aimed at targets
in the United States and on the Arabian Peninsula, according to
to plots timed to occur as early as the end of the Hajj, which
occurs late this week," he said. "And it points to plots
that could include the use of a radiological dispersion device
as well as poisons and chemicals."
Al Qaeda has
established a presence in Iran and Iraq, and the terrorists continue
to find refuge in Pakistan and Afghanistan. "The network
is extensive and adaptable," Tenet said. "It will take
years of determined effort to unravel this and other terrorist
networks and stamp them out."
He said Al
Qaeda is also developing new means of attack, including the use
of surface-to-air missiles; poisons; and air, surface and underwater
methods to attack maritime targets. Al Qaeda leader Osama bin
Laden has a sophisticated biological weapons capability, Tenet
asserted, and he has made efforts to obtain nuclear and radiological
successes in combating terrorism since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks,
Jacoby said terrorism remains the most immediate threat to U.S.
interests at home and abroad.
of terrorist groups, including the FARC in Colombia, various Palestinian
organizations and Lebanese Hezbollah, have the capability to do
us harm," the admiral said. "But I am most concerned
about the al Qaeda network."
Iraq, Tenet said the Iraqi regime is actively working to deceive
U.N. inspectors and deny them access.
effort is directed by the highest levels of the Iraqi regime,"
he said. "Baghdad has given clear instructions to its operational
forces to hide banned materials in their possession."
weapons program includes mobile research and production facilities
that are difficult, if not impossible, for U.N. inspectors to
find, Tenet added.
Saddam Hussein appears determined to retain his weapons of mass
destruction and missile programs, to reassert his authority over
all of Iraq, and to become the dominant regional power.
penchant for brinksmanship and miscalculation increases the likelihood
that he will continue to defy international will and refuse to
relinquish his WMD and related programs," Jacoby said.
On North Korea,
Tenet noted that Pyongyang’s recent behavior regarding its nuclear
weapons program makes apparent the dangers posed to the region
and the world. This includes developing the capability to enrich
uranium, ending the freeze on its plutonium-production facilities,
and withdrawing from the Nonproliferation Treaty.
Jong Il’s attempt this past year to parlay the North’s nuclear
weapons program into political leverage suggests he is trying
to negotiate a fundamentally different relationship with us, one
that implicitly tolerates North Korea’s nuclear weapons program,"
open pursuit of nuclear weapons, Jacoby said, "is the most
serious challenge to U.S. interests in the Northeast Asia area
in a generation. … While the North’s new hard-line approach
is designed to draw concessions from the United States, Pyongyang’s
desire for nuclear weapons reflects a long-term strategic goal
that will not be easily abandoned."