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Al Qaeda’s Modus Operandi: Anticipating Their Target Selection

  • Barry R. Schneider
Chapter
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Abstract

The July 2007 National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) on “The Terrorist threat to the U.S. Homeland” states that:

We assess that Al Qaeda’s homeland plotting is likely to continue to focus on prominent political, economic, and infrastructure targets with the goal of producing mass casualties, visually dramatic dest r uction, signif icant economic aftershocks, and/or fear among the U.S. population.1

Keywords

Nuclear Weapon Critical Infrastructure Mass Destruction Biological Weapon Terrorist Threat 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Notes

  1. 3.
    Bruce Lawrence (ed.), Messages to the World: The Statements of Osama Bin Laden, London: Verso, 2005, 179.Google Scholar
  2. 5.
    Angel Rabasa, Peter Chalk, Kim Cragin, Sara A. Daly, Heather S. Gregg, Theodore W. Karasik, Kevin A. ’Brien, William Rosenau, Beyond Al Qaeda: The Global Jihadist Movement, Arlington, VA: RAND, Project Air Force, 2006, 80.Google Scholar
  3. 8.
    Martin C. Libicki, Peter Chalk, and Melanie Sisson, Exploring Terrorist Targeting Preferences, Santa Monica, CA: RAND Corporation, 2007, xiv.Google Scholar
  4. 12.
    Marc Sageman, “global Salafi Terrorist Networks,” presentation in a Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics lab series entitled Rethinking the Future Nature of Competition & Conflict Seminar Series, August 15, 2006. Video of this presentation can be found Online, Internet, November 26, 2007, available from http://www.jhuapl.edu/POW/rethinking06/video.cfm. See also, Lawrence Wright, The Looming Tower: Al Qaeda and the Road to 9/11, New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2007, 301–305.Google Scholar
  5. 13.
    Lewis Dunn, “Can al Qaeda Be Deterred from Using Nuclear Weapons?” Occasional Paper, Center for the Study of Weapons of Mass Destruction, Washington, DC: NDU, July 2005, 7.Google Scholar
  6. 24.
    George W. Bush, “Remarks on Weapons of Mass Destruction,” National Defense University, Washington, DC, February 11, 2004.Google Scholar
  7. 26.
    As CIA Director Tenet told President Musharaf of Pakistan, “the current state of play between weapons design and construction and the availability of the needed materials made it possible for a few men hidden in a remote location—if they had enough persistence and money, and black enough hearts—to obtain and use a nuclear device.” See George Tenet, At the Center of the Storm: My Years in the CIA, New York: Harper Collins, 2007, 266.Google Scholar
  8. 37.
    Marc Sageman, Understanding Terror Networks, Temple Park, PA: Penn Press, 2004, 23.Google Scholar
  9. Jaime Gomez, Jr., “Terrorist Motivations, Extreme Violence, and the Pursuit of Weapons of Mass Destruction,” Cultic Studies Review, vol. 5, no. 2, 2006, 10.Google Scholar
  10. 40.
    Ken Alibek, Biohazard, New York: Random House, 1999.Google Scholar
  11. 48.
    As Lewis Dunn has written, “Turning to Al Qaeda’s choice of means, what stands out is its preference for bombs of all kinds in executing its attacks: car bombs, boat bombs, concealed bombs, aircraft as bombs, and human bombs. Thus, use of chemical, biological, and radiological weapons would be inconsistent with this aspect of its operational code.” See Lewis Dunn, “Can Al Qaeda Be Deterred from Using Nuclear Weapons?,” Occasional Paper of the Center for the Study of Weapons of Mass Destruction, (Washington, DC: NDU, July 2005), 16.Google Scholar
  12. 49.
    W. Seth Carus, Bioterror and Biocrimes: The Illicit Use of Biological Agents in the 20th Century, Washington, DC: NDU, April 2000.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Michael T. Kindt, Jerrold M. Post, and Barry R. Schneider 2009

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  • Barry R. Schneider

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