In January, Bush declared the nation was the war on terrorism. But a report by the U.S. government says a probability remains that from the al-Qaida network will attack the United States within the next two years with a chemical,
or nuclear weapon.
Calling al-Qaida the most immediate and terrorism threat facing the United States, this report submitted to the United Nations is warning of a
probability that al-Qaida sleeper cells in the United States will attack with a weapon of mass
sometime within the next two years. It points out the FBI has turned up a widespread militant Islamic presence in the United States, with perhaps several hundred members
ties to the terrorist network.
U.S. officials say they know al-Qaida has been trying to acquire a nuclear or radiological
from evidence discovered in compounds in . Andy Oppenheimer is an expert on such weapons at Jane's Information group in London.
"Just looking at their general aptitude, it's definitely not beyond them..er.. to acquire the
In the wake of the Afghan war, U.S. officials have declared the al-Qaida network to be on the
, especially in light of the capture in March of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, a
deputy to Osama bin Laden and the man considered al-Qaida's most operational planner.
But since then, there have been more deadly terrorist attacks, including last month's suicide
in Saudi Arabia which killed more than 30 people, nine of them Americans. And, here in the United States, the nationwide terrorist alert has twice been raised from elevated to high, with U.S.
pointing to what they call increased "chatter" or intercepted suggesting al-Qaida cells were actively planning new attacks.
Raymond Tanter is a Middle East and former member of the National Security Council.
"Since the greatest threat to American security is from the sleeper cells that have not been identified or detected, it's very difficult thereby to identify and neutralize such an
Terrorism experts point out the al-Qaida network has a pattern of planning attacks for years before striking. It's been nearly two years since the group was
for the September 11 attacks in New York and Washington. This report warns it may now be
another spectacular attack, concentrating on sites such as shopping
centers, supermarkets and