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CIA Director Hayden Says Biggest Threat is a Nuclear Al-Qaeda

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,


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?


Join The Conversation
hypnoticmix hypnoticmix 8 years
"the agency's top nuclear threat is al-Qaeda." "The question is not of capability, but intent." In light of 9/11 this should be a given and it is certainly not the first time we've heard this. Anyone with enough hatred to do what they did on that day moves to the top of the list. The fact of the matter is we will be struck again nuclear or biological no matter who is President. We could impose martial law and not even that would be enough security to prevent a strike indefintely. This is precisely why I am not moved by politicians who beat their military chest and roar promises to keep us safe because regardless of how powerful we are the battle field is not on the land or the sea. It's in the hearts and minds. An ideology of hatred can only be defeated by it's counter point.
Jude-C Jude-C 8 years
It could happen. But as steph points out, it isn't as if we're doing a terribly good job of making sure nukes and other weapons don't get into rogue hands.
stephley stephley 8 years
It's hypothetical but possible - they've been threatening us with rogue nukes since at least the 1980s. But since we pay lip service to disarmament and only want to stop the sale of weapons to people we don't like, it's inevitable that nukes will go to whomever has the means to buy them.
Great-Sommelier Great-Sommelier 8 years
That is terrifying. Plain and simple.
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