Al-Qaeda Dirty Bomb Plot

The Daily Telegraph reports that a British Al-Qaeda cell tried to buy radioactive materials to make a dirty bomb from the Russian mafia in Belgium. They were foiled by the diligent efforts of British security forces:

The men were under electronic surveillance for two months and were arrested on March 30, 2004. Police seized aluminium powder and 600kg of ammonium nitrate fertiliser, which could be turned into explosives, at a warehouse in Hanwell, West London.

The jury has heard the aim of the seven men — all British citizens — was to exact revenge on the UK for its support of the US in the war on terror. The jury also heard that one of the accused described the Madrid train bombings as “absolutely beautiful”.

Richard Gardner has the details at OTB News.

Suffice it to say, al Qaeda is actively trying to get WMD and is fully committed to using them. My hope is that we’ll always have good luck and great work by intelligence and law enforcement, such as we had in this case. Every instinct and history tell us otherwise.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Bhoe says:

    The Daily Telegraph reports that a British Al-Qaeda cell tried to buy radioactive materials to make a dirty bomb from the Russian mafia in Belgium.

    Shall we invade Belgium or Russia first? Occupying Brussels might be a bit easier since it is primarily populated these days by EU bureaucrats. We could topple the regime of Barroso and probably take advantage of the help of Flemish separatists.

  2. legion says:

    I say Russia first – we’re sure to be greeted as heroes by the freedom-loving proletariat!

    Apparently, when Bush looked into Putin’s soul, he wasn’t paying any more attention than he does to his Presidential Daily Briefs…

  3. Jack Ehrlich says:

    Legion, Bhoe. How do you like your crow cooked? Or do you prefer it raw. Through the released documents from Iraq, ABC News, of all places, found a connection between al-Qaeda and Saddam. Time to move the goal posts.

  4. BWE says:

    and Jack-

    (Editor’s Note: The controversial claim that Osama bin Laden was cooperating with Saddam Hussein is an ongoing matter of intense debate. While the assertions contained in this document clearly support the claim, the sourcing is questionable � i.e., an unnamed Afghan “informant” reporting on a conversation with another Afghan “consul.” The date of the document � four days after 9/11 � is worth noting but without further corroboration, this document is of limited evidentiary value.)

  5. McGehee says:

    BWE, you’ve proven that ABC News felt the need to pin a disclaimer on documents that it found supportive of the Bush Administration’s case for war.

    How interesting that we’re supposed to give ABC’s intelligence judgment more weight than that of every intel agency in the world, which also supported the case for war.

  6. legion says:

    And again, McG, you propagate the fakeitude that “eveybody thought Iraq had WMDs”.
    Of course they did – We told everybody they had WMDs, and everybody trusted the US gov’t. They’ll never make that mistake again, and neither will we.

  7. LJD says:

    And Legion, you put a lot at stake with your belief that because we haven’t YET found WMD, that there were none.

    Care to bet your convulsing and blistering body on it?

  8. Roger Ridenour says:

    The salient point isn’t that “everybody thought Iraq had WMDs” except for weapons inspector Hans Blix who said Bush and Blair acted as if the were on a “witch hunt” when it came to Iraqi WMDs. The salient point is that very few believed Hussein was anywhere near an immediate threat to the West. Some confused people even thought Bin Laden was the real threat. That’s why the neo-cons had to manipulate the intelligence to gin up images of mushroom clouds, etc. to scare the American people into going along with the Iraq distraction from the hunt for Bin Laden. In any event, turns out Hussein wasn’t a threat. Meanwhile, Bin Laden survives 5 years later due to our great leader’s incompetence.

    LJD is obviously a man of faith. He strictly holds to a belief in “things unseen” like WMDs. That is commendable in some contexts, but a very Bin Laden-like rationale for supporting the killing of tens of thousands of innocent (Iraqi in this case) civilians. Do you also believe there are a bevy of Virgins eagerly awaiting your arrival in heaven, LJD?