Sometimes a news story doesn't allow for any ducking and covering, and this is one of those: the possibility of al-Qaeda acquiring nuclear weapons. While nuclear weapons in countries like Iran and North Korea are worrisome, CIA Director Michael Hayden said yesterday that the agency's top nuclear threat is al-Qaeda.
Hayden said, "There is no greater national security threat facing the United States than al-Qaida and its associates." The concern of course, is that al-Qaeda is more likely to use them. Talking about North Korea's off-again on-again nuclear relationship and Iran's complicated situation, Hayden said with them, "The question is not of capability, but intent."
The intent of course is clear with al-Qaeda. Hayden says, "Bin Laden has said repeatedly that he considers acquisition of nuclear weapons a religious duty. And we know that al-Qaida remains determined to attack our country in ways that inflict maximum death and destruction." It's believed that Osama bin Laden is no longer overseeing the day-to-day operations of al-Qaeda. Hayden added that the best thing the next president could do to help the CIA wrestle with these problems is to step aside and allow the agency to work.
To see the complicated state of Iran's program, read more.
Current intelligence still maintains that Iran's nuclear program is at the "keeping its options open" stage and hasn't stepped up efforts to design weapons. Hayden's remarks however, came the same day that the IAEA presented intelligence pointing to plans Iran has to redesign a missile to contain a nuclear payload.
Do you think al-Qaeda has the means necessary to acquire nuclear weapons — or is this just a hypothetical doomsday scenario?