Implications of the AQ Khan-Osama Bin Laden Connection for the
Nuclearization of Terrorism
Paul L. Williams is a former consultant to the FBI on organized crime
and terrorism. Since then, he has become an award-winning
investigative journalist and written several books. In his new
book, "The Al Qaeda Connection," he claims Osama bin Laden has
obtained nuclear weapons and smuggled them into the U.S. through
Mexico for use in a plot known as "American Hiroshima." He was
iterviewed by Ryan Mauro for WorldNetDaily.com
Supporters of Nuclear Terror Proliferator A.Q. Khan demonstrate in
By 2000, al-Qaida also secured the help of scientists and technicians
from the A. Q. Khan Research Facility in Pakistan , including the
assistance of Khan himself.
Ryan Mauro: Much has been written about the "American Hiroshima"
report. How did you first learn about the plot?
Paul Williams: I came upon the story of bin Laden's acquisition of
tactical nuclear weapons while working as the editor/publisher of The
Metro and a consultant on organized crime for the FBI. Several
members of the Chechen Mafia, who had emigrated to Little Odessa,
muscled into the operations of the Bufalino Crime Family in Northeast
Pennsylvania by selling choice No. Four heroin, guns of every
description, and stolen high-end cars from New York and New Jersey .
I learned that they came to the U.S. after Makhmud and his associates
sold tactical nukes and nuclear materials to Osama bin Laden and
Ayman al-Zawahiri. I began to search for evidence of this sale and
came upon stories in The Jerusalem Report and The London Times and
Arab stories in Muslim magazines, Al-Watan al-Arabi and al-Majallah
This led me to other sources and reports of further sales of nukes
from the former Soviet Union to al-Qaida not only by the Chechens but
also the Russian Mafia and black-marker arms-dealers, including
Semion Mogilevic from the Ukraine . Such information can be obtained
by any journalist with a telephone, a computer, and a library card.
I further learned that the sales to al-Qaida have been verified by a
host of intelligence officials and weapons inspectors, including Hans
Blix, former director general of the UN's International Atomic Energy
Agency. The sales were even verified by bin Laden and al-Zawahiri in
their pronouncements that they have obtained a small arsenal of
nuclear weapons from black-market sources. My research took me
farther into dealings between bin Laden and Dr. A. Q. Khan and the
fact that over 20 nuclear scientists and technicians from Khan's
research laboratories in Pakistan worked with al-Qaida on a regular
basis to maintain and modify the weapons that had been purchased and
to develop other weapons from the highly enriched uranium and
plutonium that bin Laden hade purchased from Uzbekistan and other
Dr. Mahmood and Dr. Majeed, two of the leading officials at the Khan
facility, confessed to CIA and ISI interrogators that they
participated in al-Qaida's nuclear projects. The fact that the
Chechens possessed the nukes should be no surprise to any reporter or
investigator. In 1995, the Chechens under Com. Shamail Basayev
planted a radiological bomb in Izmailovsky Park near Moscow . The
bomb was made of cesium-137, and, if detonated, would have killed
thousands of Russians. This incident represented the first case of a
nuke to be deployed as a weapon of terror. Later that same year,
Dzokhar Dudayev, the leader of the Chechen Mafia, offered to sell his
collection of nuclear weapons to the United States in exchange for U.
S. recognition of Chechnya 's independence. The Clinton
Administration declined and so the weapons were sold to al-Qaida.
More importantly, there is empirical proof that al-Qaida possesses
nukes. In 2000, British agents posed as recruits from a London mosque
to infiltrate al-Qaeda training camps in Afghanistan . In Herat ,
they saw nuclear weapons being manufactured. Similarly, an al-Qaeda
operative was arrested at the checkpoint at Ramallah with a weapon
strapped to his back. At first, Israeli intelligence thought that the
weapon was a radiological bomb but later confirmed, as reported by
Richard Sales of UPI and other reputable journalists, that it was a
tactical nuke. There are more examples, including the canister of
uranium 238 that U.S. military officials discovered in a lead
canister in Kandahar at the outset of Operation Enduring Freedom.
RM: How come other terrorism experts, Steven Emerson for example,
haven't warned us about the plot? In other words, why does it seem so
out of the mainstream?
PW: Few military and intelligence officials question bin Laden's
ability to launch his plan for the American Hiroshima. Gen. Eugene
Habiger, former Executive Chief of Strategic Weapons at the Pentagon,
said that an event of nuclear mega-terrorism on U. S. soil is "not a
matter of if, but when." During the 2004 presidential debates,
President Bush and Sen. Kerry said that nuclear weapons in the hands
of terrorists represent the greatest danger facing the American
people, while Vice President Cheney, on the campaign trail, warned
that a nuclear attack by al-Qaida appears imminent. Before leaving
office, Attorney General John Ashcroft and Homeland Security Director
Tom Ridge both voiced that belief that al-Qaida's plan to nuke cities
throughout the country soon might come to fruition.
From the private sector, Warren Buffet, who establishes odds against
cataclysmic events for major insurance companies, concluded that an
imminent nuclear nightmare within the United States is "virtually a
certainty." From the academic community, Dr. Graham Allison, director
of Harvard University 's Belfer Center for Science and International
Affairs, said: "Is nuclear mega-terrorism inevitable? Harvard
professors are known for being subtle or ambiguous, but I'll try to
the clear. 'Is the worst yet to come?' My answer: Bet on it. Yes."
Finally, from the mainstream media, Bill Keller, editor of The New
York Times, concluded that the only reason for thinking a nuclear
attack won't happen is because "it hasn't happened yet," adding that
such reasoning represents "terrible logic." And so, Ryan, the message
has been delivered but few are listening.
Emerson's importance as an analyst pales in comparison to that of
Michael Scheuer, of the CIA and author of "Imperial Hubris," who was
in charge on "the Alec file," the CIA's file on bin Laden. On Nov.
14, 2004 , Scheuer appeared on "60 Minutes" to alert the American
people that a nuclear attack by al-Qaida "is pretty close to being
RM: In your upcoming book, "The Al-Qaeda Connection," you write that
former Russian KGB and Spetsnaz operatives maintain bin Laden's
nuclear arsenal. When were they hired and how do we know they are
capable of such a monumental task?
PW: Bin Laden and al-Zawahiri began recruiting former Spetsnaz
technicians circa 1997. By 1999, a host of such technicians (along
with nuclear scientists from China ) were working at al-Qaida
laboratories in Afghanistan and Pakistan. By 2000, al-Qaida also
secured the help of scientists and technicians from the A. Q. Khan
Research Facility in Pakistan , including the assistance of Khan
On Sept. 11, 2001 , when the attack was taking place in America , bin
Laden and company were meeting with Dr. Sultan Bashiruddin Mahmood,
former Chairman of Pakistan's Atomic Energy Commission, and Dr.
Chaudry Abdul Majid, chief technician for the A. Q. Khan Facility, to
discuss the maintenance and deployment of al-Qaida's nuclear arsenal.
When the CIA confiscated records from Ummah Tameer E-Nau ("Islamic
Reconstruction"), Dr. Mahmood's bogus charity in Kabul , they
discovered evidence from Mahmood's computer that at least one al-
Qaida nuke had been forward deployed to the U.S. from Karachi in a
cargo container. After interrogating Mahood and Majid, CIA officials
discovered that more than a score of scientists and technicians from
the A. Q. Khan Facility worked on a daily basis to develop, upgrade,
and maintain the al-Qaida nuclear arsenal. Almost all of these
scientists have escaped from Pakistan to avoid arrest.
U.S. officials have been denied permission to interrogate Dr. Khan,
even though we know that he provided nuclear technology and designs
for atomic bombs not only to Libya , Iran and North Korea, but also
Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Sudan, Nigeria, Brazil, Egypt, Malaysia,
Indonesia, Algeria, Abu Dhabi and Myanmar. In Myanmar , for example,
Dr. Sulieman Asad and Dr. Mohammad Ali Mukhtar are building a 10-
megawatt nuclear reactor while still providing help and expertise to
the al-Qaida network. It's a hellava situation and the press is not
RM: Do you have any information on what the U.S. and its friends are
doing to try to stop the plot?
PW: On Oct. 11, 2001 , George Tenet, former CIA director, met with
President Bush to inform him that at least two tactical nukes have
reached al-Qaida operatives in the U.S. This news was substantiated
by Pakistan 's ISI, the CIA and the FBI.
In accordance with this discovery, the Bush administration deployed
hundreds of new and sophisticated Gamma Ray Neutron Flux Detector
sensors to U.S. borders, overseas facilities and "choke points"
around Washington, D.C. The administration further assigned Delta
Force, the elite special operations detachment unit of the U.S. Army,
the task of killing or disabling any or all suspects. Such measures
have proved to be ineffective. Richard L. Wagner, senior staff member
at the Los Alamos National Laboratory, testified before the House
Homeland Security Subcommittee on the Prevention of Nuclear and
Biological Attack that the currently installed radiation detection
systems are highly limited in their capabilities and, in general,
insufficient to the task. To add to the problem of insecurity, the
borders remain almost completely porous and less than 10 percent of
the freight that arrives at major ports (including New York/New
Jersey) is inspected.
RM: Where is the WMD arsenal now that Afghanistan is occupied?
PW: The nuclear weapons were not contained solely in Afghanistan. Al-
Qaida laboratories were established in the Balkans, Sudan, Pakistan,
Egypt, Saudi Arabia and even places like Myanmar. A number of these
weapons have been forward deployed to Mexico and the U.S.
My educated guess would be that arsenals have been established in
several of the following countries: Pakistan, Sudan, Saudi Arabia,
Myanmar, Algeria, Indonesia, Malaysia, Abu Dubai, Iran, Syria and
Lebanon . The last three in light of the al-Qaida truce and bonding
with Hezbollah. Myanmar looms large since very sinister events are
taking place there. These events, including the construction of large
reactors, have been made possible by fugitive scientists and
technicians from the Khan Research Facility .But don't lose sight of
the fact that nukes have been forward deployed to al-Qaida cells in
Canada, Mexico and the U.S.
RM: Why haven't the weapons been used already? One can't help but
think that the best time to use the weapons would have been during
the invasions of Afghanistan or Iraq .
PW: The worst time for al-Qaida to use its nuclear weapons would have
been during the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq when the U.S.
remained on high alert. A defining characteristic of bin Laden is
patience. His favorite Islamic verse is as follows: "I will be
patient until Patience is outworn by patience." He started plotting
the 1998 bombings of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania when he
was in the Sudan in 1993; the attack of the USS Cole was more than
two years in the making and eight years passed between the first
attack on the World Trade Center and the second. The planned American
Hiroshima is enormous in scope. It requires not only development and
(in some cases) rebuilding of the weapons along with codification for
detonation but also forward deployment, site preparation and precise
strategic coordination with scattered cells.
Bin Laden will not allow the attack to take place unless there is
certainty of success. His entire resources (including the gains from
the poppy fields) have been spent on this operation. After
scrutinizing the situation and analyzing the data, Bill Keller,
editor of The New York Times , said that the "best reason" for
thinking that the nuclear attack by al-Qaida will NOT happen is
because "it hasn't happened yet," adding this conclusion
represents "terrible logic." I agree with him.
RM: Is there any indication of when Bin Laden intends to use the
PW: Bin Laden can't sit on these weapons for years. They require
constant maintenance. At any given time, a tactical nuke exudes a
temperature in excess of 100 degrees Fahrenheit. This means that they
are prone to oxidation and rust. Moreover, the triggers that emit
large quantities of neutrons at high speeds decay rapidly and have
short half-lives – most would become useless without maintenance in
less than four months. The nuclear cores also are subject to decay
and over the course of several years would fall below the critical
mass threshold. Though the shells that encase the cores are the most
durable parts of the weapons, they, too, are subject to
contamination. The tritium used to compensate for the required amount
of conventional explosives to compress the fissile core within the
compact devices is less of an issue since it has a half-life of 12.3
years. Taking all things into consideration, the attack should occur
within the very near future. The bombs which bin Laden began building
in 1992 are for the American Hiroshima.
RM: Given the heat and radiation given off by the nuke, couldn't it
PW: Richard L. Wagner, senior staff member at the Los Alamos National
Laboratory and one of the founders of the Department of Energy's
Nuclear Emergency Search Team, recently told Congress that major
breakthroughs in the ability of the U.S. government to locate rogue
nukes may be five years away. Wagner, a Ph.D. whose specialty is
radiation detection, testified that better technology and more
radiation detention devices are needed to stop the nuclear terrorist
threat. "Currently installed radiation detection systems, or systems
which could be procured in quantity in the next year or two, are
quite limited in their capabilities and, in general, are insufficient
for the task," he testified. "Substantial research and development is
needed to improve detection capabilities."
A nuclear gun bomb that could be fired from a 155 millimeter
recoilless rifle could be packed in the small container, stuffed into
the truck of a car or van and transported into any major metropolitan
city within the U.S. without detection.
That's the fact of the matter. Other weapons could be transported by
private plane to any major airport. Less than 25 percent of the
freight on private planes is inspected let alone subjected to
radiation detection. To complicate matters, the ports of entry (such
as the airports) are now controlled by the Albanian Mafia. The
Albanians have taken over the operations of the Italian-American
crime families and have become, according to the FBI, the leading
criminal organization in the U.S. The Albanians, as you know, are
Muslims with ties to radical Islam and, through the KLO, al-Qaida.
RM: I have trouble believing that teams required to maintain a
nuclear weapon wouldn't be detected here in the U.S.
PW: There isn't just one team but, at least, seven. They are working
within mosques and Islamic centers. In the U.S., a federal judge will
not provide any FBI or law enforcement agent with a warrant to search
a mosque of an Islam center for any reason since such places are
listed as "houses of worship."
RM: Seven teams?
PW: At least seven teams, according to information obtained from
Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and other al-Qaida operatives, in at least
seven metropolitan areas. These areas have been identified as New
York, Miami, Houston, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Chicago and Washington,
D.C. The attack will occur simultaneously at the seven sites.
RM: How do you know you can trust what Khalid Sheikh Mohammad said?
In the past, he's given us bogus information, some of which led to
orange alerts. Some say he and other al-Qaida operatives are waging a
disinformation campaign meant to dull our senses.
PW: No, you can't trust Khalid Sheikh Mohammad, but you can trust the
information that was obtained from his laptop when he was arrested on
March 1, 2003 .
RM: Will Bin Laden use them on the American homeland or also forces
overseas and countries that have joined the war on terrorism?
PW: They are not for use in the United Kingdom, Spain, Italy, Iraq or
Afghanistan . The declaration of war was issued against the United
States and al-Qaida insists that over 4 million Americans must die
for the sake of parity. They are intent upon realizing this objective
and the doomsday clock by all reckoning is very near midnight .
Ryan Mauro is the author of the upcoming book "Death to America: The
Unreported Battle of Iraq" and owner of WorldThreats.com.
Story Credits: Worldnetdaily