The Washington Times today is reporting that intelligence officials cannot confirm the plague outbreak in the AQ training camp, but whatever happened, it was the cause of the base abandonment.
He said authorities in the first week of January intercepted an urgent communication between the leadership of al Qaeda in the Land of the Maghreb (AQIM) and al Qaeda's leadership in the tribal region of Pakistan on the border with Afghanistan. The communication suggested that an area sealed to prevent leakage of a biological or chemical substance had been breached, according to the official.Though bubonic plague kills quickly when antibiotics are unavailable, Black Death is not an efficient killing weapon in Western societies. The disease is not communicable human to human, it requires a vector such as rats, prairie dogs, and fleas in a very dirty environment. It's not likely for all the requirements to come together in most Western countries and cities. This would pose a greater danger for the less developed world.
"We don't know if this is biological or chemical," the official said.
The story was first reported by the British tabloid the Sun, which said the al Qaeda operatives died after being infected with a strain of bubonic plague, the disease that killed a third of Europe's population in the 14th century. But the intelligence official dismissed that claim.
Another report from the Commission on the Prevention of Weapons of Mass Destruction Proliferation, released in December, warned that "terrorists are more likely to be able to obtain and use a biological weapon than a nuclear weapon."
Roger Cressey, a former senior counterterrorism official at the National Security Council under Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, told The Washington Times that al Qaeda has had an interest in acquiring a poisons capability since the late 1990s.
"This is something that al Qaeda still aspires to do, and the infrastructure to develop it does not have to be that sophisticated," he said.
"Al Qaeda in the Maghreb is probably the most operationally capable affiliate in the organization right now," he said.
The real danger of the possible disease experimentation is that AQ could be working in that direction and may be making progress. If that's the case, then this is a very serious development and should not be ignored.
From today's edition of the Sun:
Last year it was revealed 100 suspected terrorists tried to become students in Britain, giving them access to labs.
In 2006 a plot to poison London’s water was unmasked.
Ian Kearns, of the Institute for Public Policy Research, said: “The biological weapons threat is not going away. We’re not ready for it.”
The life of Indigo Red is full of adventure. Tune in next time for the Further Adventures of Indigo Red.