Jihadists were close to making bioweapons as late as 2009, report says

Documents obtained and released by Wikileaks reveal that, as late as 2009, jihadists were close to making workable biological and chemical weapons capable of killing thousands in the West.

Some of the cables published by the London-based Telegraph show that al-Qaeda still remains committed to obtaining weapons of mass destruction, including chemical, biological, nuclear and radiological devices.

The cables also indicate that Western governments are concerned that terrorists may obtain WMD material through Pakistan, RightSideNews.com reports. There is a fear that extremists in Pakistan could use Pakistani supplies of anthrax, avian flu, and foot and mouth disease to create their own biological weapons.

In 2009, British officials voiced their concerns that a rogue Pakistani scientist might collude to sneak enough nuclear material out of the country to make a bomb.

Much of the effort Washington expends on preventing biological agents from falling into terrorists hand is done through the U.S. Department of State’s Biosecurity Engagement Program.

A U.S. diplomat based in Islamabad in 2007 reported lax security measures at the Pakistan Agricultural Research Center, RightSideNews.com reports. That facility handles anthrax, foot and mouth diseases, avian influenza and brucellosis.

Other cables about documents found in Afghanistan in 2007 show that terrorists may have made more progress towards their bioterror goals than previously realized.

"The bottom line…is clear: al Qaeda and its network have been determined to acquire WMD," Rolf Mowatt-Larssen, a senior fellow at Harvard’s Kennedy school, said, according to RightSideNews.com. "Organizing a coherent strategy to prevent this nightmare from occurring begins with a clear recognition that WMD terrorism is a real and imminent threat."