Intel Hints at Al-Qaida Steps Toward Ricin Strikes

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Global Security Newswire Staff
Aug. 16, 2013, 8:02 a.m.

Al-Qaida’s Ye­meni branch ap­pears to be more than 12 months in­to an ef­fort to stock­pile the leth­al tox­in ri­cin for aer­i­al dis­pers­al in the United States, in­tel­li­gence in­siders said in a Monday New York Times re­port.

Con­fid­en­tial find­ings sug­gest the ter­ror group has been try­ing to amass castor seeds and oth­er ri­cin pre­curs­ors at a se­cluded loc­a­tion in Ye­men’s Shab­wa province, an area bey­ond reach of the coun­try’s cent­ral gov­ern­ment in San­aa, ac­cord­ing to the sources. The data — ini­tially re­por­ted in 2012 to Pres­id­ent Obama and seni­or White House se­cur­ity staffers — sug­gests the mil­it­ants want to have ex­plos­ives spread the deadly sub­stance through crowded in­door areas, gov­ern­ment per­son­nel said.

Still, U.S. in­siders said they saw no signs of an im­pend­ing ri­cin strike. They ad­ded that Ye­men’s cli­mate is not con­du­cive to ri­cin re­tain­ing its po­tency, and that the tox­in less read­ily enters the hu­man body than cer­tain types of nerve agent.

Fol­low­ing the ini­tial re­ports last year, a Saudi in­tel­li­gence lead sur­faced that sug­ges­ted al-Qaida sought to in­ject ri­cin in­to a pop­u­lar per­fume made from agar­wood res­in, and send the tain­ted fra­grance as presents to gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials and armed forces. However, it is un­cer­tain that the plot was ever at­temp­ted, the Times re­por­ted.


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