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Int'l report warns of al-Qaeda US attack
12-26-2008, 10:37 AM,
Int'l report warns of al-Qaeda US attack
Quote:Al-Qaeda will focus on US targets vulnerable to huge economic losses and casualties over the next five years, says a new intelligence report.

The internal Homeland Security Threat Assessment for the years 2008-2013 obtained by AP also said that instability in the Middle East and Africa would cause the terrorism threat to the US over the next five years.

After the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, the Bush administration vowed to capture al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, who has reportedly taken responsibility for the deadly attacks on US soils.

The assessment added that chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear attacks are considered the most dangerous threats that could be carried out against the US. However, those threats are also the most unlikely because it is so difficult for al-Qaeda and similar groups to acquire the materials needed to carry out such plots.

Intelligence officials also predict that in the next five years, terrorists will try to conduct a destructive biological attack. Officials are concerned about the possibility of infections to thousands of US citizens, overwhelming regional health care systems, according to the 38-page assessment.

In addition, al-Qaeda terrorist group would like to conduct cyber attacks, but they lack the capability to do so, the assessment said.

The large-scale attacks that are on al-Qaeda's wishlist - such as disrupting a major city's water or power systems - require sophisticated cyber capabilities that the terrorist group does not possess.

However, al-Qaeda has the capability to hire sophisticated hackers to carry out these kinds of attacks, the assessment said.

Moreover, federal officials believe that in the next three to five years, the terrorist group could direct or inspire cyber attacks that target the US economy.

A Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) program called 'Operation Cyclone' is reportedly responsible for the creation of al-Qaeda, when the CIA funded native Afghan militants in the conflict with the Soviet Union.

Earlier, a source close to the group claimed that Bin Laden was planning a new terror attack against the US as President-elect Barack Obama takes office from the incumbent president, George W. Bush on Jan. 20.

In October, US Vice President-elect Joe Biden also warned that Obama would face an international crisis early in his presidency.
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