NUKE TERROR ATTACK MAY BE IMMINENT: Al-Qaeda Suitcase Nukes Reportedly Hidden in USA

by Richard Poe
Tuesday, August 2, 2005

4:03 pm Eastern Time

Don’t miss FrontPage’s lead feature today – an interview with WorldNetDaily editor Joseph Farah by Jamie Glazov. WorldNetDaily has rocked the Internet with a series of investigative reports titled “American Hiroshima.” Farah explains how al-Qaeda operatives may have hidden nuclear devices in the United States, ready to detonate on command.

The M-13 Salvadoran street gang may have helped terrorists smuggle suitcase nukes over the Mexican border, WorldNetDaily reports. Some evidence indicates that the Islamists may be planning to detonate two devices, in two different cities, as a perverse commemoration of the U.S. atom bomb attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. New York and Washington top the list of favored targets, according to WorldNetDaily. The 60th anniversary of the Hiroshima bombing – August 6, 2005 – has been cited as one possible date for the attack.

Rumors are running wild via e-lists and Net chatter, fueled in part by such oddities as the sudden July 20 decision of Prince Bandar bin Sultan – Saudi ambassador to the United States – to resign and leave the country for unspecified “personal reasons.” Meanwhile, PLO Arabic-language media, emboldened by Israel’s withdrawal from Gaza, scheduled for August 15, are calling for a new intifada.

All in all, a fine kettle of fish!

Those of us brought up during the Cold War spent much of our childhood and adolescence trying to figure out exactly how one goes about “preparing” for a nuclear strike. Words cannot express my annoyance at having to wrestle with this question once again.

Then again, speaking as a resident of New York City – reportedly our enemy’s number one target of choice – I must say that I would rather be incinerated in a nuclear blast than live to see Hillary become president in 2008. If the unfolding of the former possibility in any way helps prevent the latter, I will consider my life well spent.

Good luck, gentle reader. God bless you. And God save America!

by Richard Poe
August 2, 2005 04:03 PM

Cross-posted from 08.02.05


13 Responses to “NUKE TERROR ATTACK MAY BE IMMINENT: Al-Qaeda Suitcase Nukes Reportedly Hidden in USA”


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  1. Mr. Beamish says:

    My older brother has served in the reactor departments of four of America’s Nimitz-class aircraft carriers as well as being qualified to serve in armed security details aboard cargo trains that carry radioactive waste from ported US Navy ships to disposal sites in America’s hinterlands. I consider him something of an “expert” on how to make radioactive materials a vital part of ruining someone’s millenium.

    Nuclear weapons are not something you can just build and stow away until you’re ready to use them. They require continued maintenance, in controlled / shielded environments, to retain their effectiveness as fission weapons. Any degradation that affects their highly complex timing / triggering mechanisms will transform a multiple square mile-incinerating device into a highly toxic, but relatively manageable “dirty bomb.” In the grand scheme of things, it’s much easier to clean up residual uranium and plutonium dust spread over a few blocks of a city by a malfunctioning nuclear device than it is to sort through the ruins of a city wiped off the face of the earth by the real deal. Of far greater importance to maintaining a nuclear device for ready use than carefully aligning the shaped charges that compress uranium and plutonium into exploding with thermonuclear force are the radioactive tritium “triggers,” which must be replaced from time to time because the effective half-life of tritium is less than 15 years (closer to 10 years). Tritium is a vital component in elementary thermonuclear bomb designs. Without it, or lithium triggers (which are bombarded with neutrons during an atomic explosion to create the tritium to accelerate the blast into a full blown nuke, which even under the most extreme examples of American miniaturization tech would rule out a “suitcase” sized bomb, the lithium mass requirements are too large) a nuclear weapon becomes an expensive way to powderize fissile materials – a dirty bomb, no doubt, but nothing that would destroy a city.

    That’s why I am skeptical of the “old Soviet nuke in a suitcase” scenario. If there were such things buried in America, their tritium triggers are long since expired.

    And considering that our current off-the-shelf gamma- and neutron radiation detectors can pinpoint a slightly radioactive radium pellet (as used in medicine to treat cervical and uterine cancer) at ranges over a mile under the constant bath of radiation from the Sun, can you imagine the alarms that would go off if someone removed the case shielding from an U-238 / plutonium bomb to service the tritium triggers inside?

    Nay, I say. I can’t believe it. If there’s a nuke to set off in America, Al Qaeda would have already, or has already tried and nobody noticed because someone sold them useless junk.

    This isn’t to say that terrorists-with-nukes should not be a concern. It’s scary enough that bomb-grade fissile materials that went missing from Lawerence Livermore during the Clinton years has been officially written off as an “accounting error.”

    But I’m more worried about a State Department that issues renewed student visas to dead terrorist hijackers than the scourge of nuke-wielding Arabs cleverly disguised as migrant Mexican workers.

    Color me realistic.

  2. Richard Poe says:

    Dear Mr. Beamish:

    The old saying comes to mind: Where there’s a will, there’s a way.

    Still, your arguments are persuasive. Let’s hope you’re right.

  3. Mr. Beamish says:

    I’d rather put the risk in perspective. I’m not denying the risk, but rather the technical hurdles and chain-of-custody issues involved in either bringing a nuke from somewhere else to America or bringing the components together, undetected, to construct a nuke in America makes the risk have a magnitude of implausibility.

    We do need to ensure that fissile materials across the globe (including America) are secured and that we know who’s weaponizing them (Iran, North Korea, etc.) and hold those nations accountable to international monitoring.

    Finding a nuclear device aboard a cargo ship in America’s ports via the expensive detection regimes proposed by Democrats and other kinds of unintelligent people will be too late, for obvious reasons.

    “Let’s stop nukes from entering our cities by putting radiation detectors in all of our ports!”

    “How big is the blast radius of a nuke in a port?”

    “Oh, fuck.”

    It’s much like the British surveillance camera “solution” to suicide bombers. They’ve got before and after pics of suicide bombers, and haven’t made a preventative dent in the number of their victims. We can’t rely on terrorists to grace us with malfunctioning bombs.

  4. Werner says:

    I found this to be a good primer:

    That guy should know what he is talking about

  5. Mr. Beamish says:

    Excellent synopsis you’ve found, Werner.

  6. RightWinger says:

    Werner, that is excellent stuff. Thanks for the heads up.

    And Mr. B, I’d love to share your optimism, but there are some thing in the scenario that still make me feel uneasy. For example:

    -U.S. Borders are extremely vunerable. It is so easy to smuggle persons and things across the border from either Mexico or Canada. The entire borded cannot be protected all the time, and there is always someone who knows some way of getting things in.

    -Captured al-Qauda opretives have been quoted as saying the bin Laden has hired ex-KGB, nuclear specialists from the former USSR and other various workers to help him in acquiring, maintaining and detonating nukes. And while there are numerous “suitcase” nukes unaccounted for, it is almost certain that bin Laden has been able to secure a few.

    -I’m sure if bin Laden has the resources to pay people to find and deliever nuclear weapons, he has the means to get the need components and brains to keep a nuke in working operation, or to restore it to working operation.

    -Even if it is a “dirty bomb”, it’s a scary thought to think that such a weapon could be detonated on U.S. soil.

    -Lastly, if the case shielding from an U-238 / plutonium bomb was removed to service the tritium triggers, I’m sure there are plenty of out of the way places where this can be done. How about rural South Dakota, or Wisconsin, or even New Mexico? I’m sure there are plenty of out of the way places where this kind of radioactive survallience is not normal operating procedure.

    I hope you are right, Mr. B. I hope that there is no possible way for a nuke to be detonated on our beloved homeland. But if you are wrong, I fear that even a diasaster of the magnitude would not stop some Americans (the pinko commie left, mostly) from continuing their parade of anti-American sentiment, and America will be in a very bad way.

  7. Jenny Hatch says:

    I know for me, the preparations we have made over the years have simply comforted my heart.

    Many people have criticized/joked about me for the extreme measures that I have taken to be prepared for a variety of contingencies.

    But with five children in our home, and as a faithful Mormon, I have gradually implemented the Provident Lifestyle, and it simply comforts me that should anything happen, we are prepared to live self sufficiently in our home for three months without any outside help.

    We have stored water, food in number 10 cans, and a variety of supplies – potassium iodide for nuclear terror, homeopathics for biological terror, and have a variety of natural healing supplies, supplements, and remedies ready in case we are somehow cut off from medical care.

    About ten years ago I was asked to speak in a Sunday school class as one of three who were teaching about self sufficiency skills to our church congregation. I had been studying Cresson Kearny’s excellent book Nuclear War survival skills, and made the case that with the dismantling of the Soviet Union, we really needed to be concerned about terrorists obtaining nuclear weapons from the russians and using them here in America.

    I read this quote from the book:

    ” A terrorist attack, that will be a more likely possibility once nuclear weapons become available in unstable nations. Fallout dangers could extend clear across America. For example, a single small nuclear weapon exploded in a West Coast city would cause lethal fallout hazards to unsheltered persons for several miles downwind from the part of the city devastated by blast and fire. It also would result in deposition of fallout in downwind localities up to hundreds of miles away, with radiation dose rates hundreds of times higher than the normal background. Fallout would be especially heavy in areas of rain-out; pregnant women and small children in those areas, following peacetime standards for radiation protection, might need to stay sheltered for weeks.”

    After I finished reading this quote I looked out at the congregation and I heard a few people laughing. It is no fun to be laughed at, and as Joseph Farah expressed in his interview, he is hoping that his exposing this threat is much ado about nothing.

    However, wrong or not, I believe the most important antidote to fear is simply to be prepared.

    I have spent the past years making prudent preparations for nuclear terror, learning self sufficiency skills, putting those skills into practice in our home life, and teaching anyone interested the facts about nuclear survival. (I teach a quarterly class in my home on Provident Living)

    Last month in class, I had two women attend. We had a great two hours together, talking about a variety of topics. Over the years I have shared this information with hundreds of people in this outreach. It is always interesting to talk and get a feel for how afraid individuals are.

    I notice a marked decline in fearful statements and negative comments during the class. As I share with these people the facts about nuclear survival, it is obvious that many are filled with the lie that we can do nothing to prepare, so why try? Yet as I have shared good and practical information in the class, fear subsides, and most, I hope, leave with a sense of purpose that they can make a few simple preparations for themselves and their families.

    I believe where the government has been lax these past years is simply in not educating the populace about HOW to survive a nuclear incident. The web site is excellent, but I would love to see commercials, radio spots, and even movies/documentarys prepared for schools and community groups to use for education purposes.

    So many people are caught up in the myths, that I believe if the government were to take on the task of educating the populace through the media about the facts of nuclear war, rather than dancing around the topic, this would be the most proactive step we could take as a people to win the psychological war on terror.

    Jenny Hatch

  8. Mr. Beamish says:


    Let me clarify. The tritium triggers for a “suitcase” nuke originating from the old Soviet arsenals would be expired by its half-life by now, unless they’ve been replaced. There’s the tricky part. Who is secretly manufacturing tritium in nuclear reactors, especially since tritium production would quite literally scream “thermonuclear weapons program.”

    I’m sure Al Qaeda has retained some nuclear physicists. Perhaps even some aspiring bomb designers. But retaining large nuclear reactors set up to produce tritium would require a level of state-sponsorship for Al Qaeda I don’t think even Kim Jong il would be bold enough to express.

    Fear the dirty bomb or chemical weapons scenario instead. The advice for survival in a chem attack given in Werner’s link above is sound, but also optimistic, as the only chemical attack we’ve seen Al Qaeda attempt to deploy (the foiled gas attack on Amman, Jordan involved hundreds of tons of chemicals) was estimated to be capable of killing 80,000 people. Not through fear, but by the sheer size of the poison cloud. You can’t run from poisons that kill you instantly.

  9. J. Bargholz says:

    Dirty bombs are limited by their blast radius. Only people within the radius will be initially affected by the radioactive contaminants. Survivors of the initial blast can carry contaminants outside the blast range but this can be contained. According to experts it would take a dirty bomb the size of a tanker truck to create a blast radius that would encompass an area approximating a small city center. The presence of buildings would block much of the contaminant from achieving its maximum radius.

    Conventional bombs are much more practical than a dirty bombs although they may lack as much psychological effect. Transmitting enough radioctive contaminant to kill mass amounts of people is no simple task. Simply tossing it to the wind atop a tall building wouldn’t guarantee a great many individuals coming into contact with enough to kill them. Introducing it to a water supply would dilute it and subject it to filters. Other chemical agents would be much more effective.

    Of course, I’m just going by what I’ve read. I dont really know for sure but it sounds plausible.

    I can think of plenty of ways to smuggle large nuclear weapons into the US. It would be expensive and hardly foolproof but it could be done. Fear of reprisals against the country that produces any bomb supplied to jihadis is probably the main reason it hasn’t happened yet. Knowing that a country like the US can wipe you off the face of the Earth is a pretty good deterrent in most cases.

    If Iran gets the bomb all bets are off.

  10. RightWinger says:

    True. But I’m sure that the Cold War doctrine of Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD) is still applicable today. Although in this case, one bomb set of by terrorist, which would effectively cripple the American economy, would probably result in the complete annihilation of the country or countries responsible for the development, production, funding and shipment of the weapon.

  11. J. Bargholz says:

    If America gets hit that hard I think a lot of fence sitters and nay-sayers would become hawks overnight. As difficult as it is for me to believe sometimes, I think many opponents of the war on jihadis are decent people that have been bamboozled by the msm into doubting their own country. It sickens me to think that we might have to lose a city center to snap these people out of it.

  12. dgene says:

    Mr. Bargholz, I too am amazed that more people have not woken up, and I pray that a drastic and devastating attack by the death cult will not be required for the awakening. Fools learn from just experience and unfortunately the spirit of Neville Chamberlain still permeates the West; wiser heads read the signs and fight.

  13. » Blog Archive » NUKE TERROR ATTACK MAY BE IMMINENT: Al-Qaeda Suitcase Nukes Reportedly Hidden in USA says:

    […] Cross-posted from 08.02.05 […]

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