Zarqawi Nuclear Terrorism Threat

Bill Gertz reports that al Qaeda’s chief Iraqi terrorist Abu Musab Zarqawi may have obtained a nuclear or radiological device.

Reports reveal Zarqawi nuclear threat

Recurrent intelligence reports say al Qaeda terrorist Abu Musab Zarqawi has obtained a nuclear device or is preparing a radiological explosive — or dirty bomb — for an attack, according to U.S. officials, who also say analysts are unable to gauge the reliability of the information’s sources. The classified reports have been distributed to U.S. intelligence agencies for several consecutive months and say Zarqawi, al Qaeda’s leader in Iraq, has stored the nuclear device or dirty bomb in Afghanistan, said officials familiar with the intelligence.

One official said the intelligence is being questioned because analysts think al Qaeda would not hesitate to use a nuclear device if it had one. However, the fact that the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) has reported the nuclear threat in several classified reports distributed since December indicates concern about it.

I, too, tend to think that Zarqawi and gang would use such a device immediately if they had the capability. Still, a nuclear-armed al Qaeda is our post-9/11 nightmare scenario.

James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. […] to bet that those nuclear or radiological weapons had their beginnings in Iraq. (link via James Joyner)

    Bag and Board it! |

    Comments » The U […]

    A while back, I speculated that the pattern of looting in Iraq suggested a pattern that somebody was taking advantage of poor security in order to put together a nuclear device.So let me get this straight: high-end explosives capable for use in nuclear…


  4. And, of course, you know that they don’t have to get it here. All the have to do is detonate it somwhere, anywhere, and the world markets are going to collapse for a while. Even the middle of the Sahara will suffice, and I’m fairly certian we don’t have any radiological sensors there yet.

  5. It is likely that they have some radioactive material. Our buddies in Pakistan were practically selling it on eBay.

  6. Zarqawi’s Al Qaeda in Iraq May Have Nuke
    Collin sends me this Washington Times story, but the info in it is not new to The Jawa Report. Ever since Zarqawi’s base of operations in Fallujah was discovered, reports have been trickling in that he might have WMD capability….

  7. Kappiy says:

    Zarqawi doesnt exist. This story reads like a typical psy-ops. Who is writing these “classified intelligence reports”? Perhaps the same folks trumpeting WMDs in Iraq?

  8. LJD says:

    Um… the tin foil hat is slipping… off… a little…

  9. Blogotional says:

    Leading Iraqi Terrorist Has Nuke – reported
    Having it and using it are two very different things, and I do not think the fact that it has not been used removes credit from the reports at all.

  10. Zarqawi As A Nuclear Threat
    The Washington Times is reporting that several classified intelligence documents are reporting that Zarqawi has got a nuclear or radiological weapon hidden in Afghanistan….

  11. Gordon Davis says:

    If this asshole Zargawi does exist and if we learned for sure that he has a nuke, we should be able to track him down, turn a SEAL team loose on him and burn the bastard and all his friends where they stand. Who is chicken little in DC…Don or George?