Osama bin Laden’s terror network claims to have bought ready-made nuclear weapons on the black market in central Asia, the biographer of al-Qaida’s No. 2 leader was quoted as telling an Australian television station.
In an interview scheduled to be televised on Monday, Pakistani journalist Hamid Mir said Ayman al-Zawahri claimed that “smart briefcase bombs” were available on the black market. It was not clear when the interview between Mir and al-Zawahri took place.
U.S. intelligence agencies have long believed that al-Qaida attempted to acquire a nuclear device on the black market, but say there is no evidence it was successful.
In the interview with Australian Broadcasting Corp. television, parts of which were released Sunday, Mir recalled telling al-Zawahri it was difficult to believe that al-Qaida had nuclear weapons when the terror network didn’t have the equipment to maintain or use them.
“Dr Ayman al-Zawahri laughed and he said ‘Mr. Mir, if you have $30 million, go to the black market in central Asia, contact any disgruntled Soviet scientist, and a lot of … smart briefcase bombs are available,'” Mir said in the interview.
This is interesting although, as the piece points out several paragraphs down, such claims are not new.