On the Sept. 24 episode of For the Record, dire warnings from top national security officials revealed that the Islamic State has had positive control of some of the chemical weapons from the Saddam Hussein regime since June. And now those same deadly weapons may be headed for the United States.
More than two weeks later, the New York Times reinforced For the Record’s report that deadly chemical weapons of mass destruction existed in Iraq. For seven years, before military operations wound down in Iraq, American and multinational forces encountered chemical weapons that were hidden or abandon in previous years of fighting.
The same kind of deadly mustard gas munitions found by the deployed soldiers could now be used by the Islamic State.
"They have access to chemical munitions and uranium compounds ... they took over the Muthanna weapons -- chemical weapons complex -- in Iraq, and they’ve got munitions that have Sarin gas, VX gas and mustard gas," Brian Fairchild, a former CIA clandestine service officer, revealed.
Despite U.S. officials denying or downplaying the threat posed by the remaining munitions, Fairchild's assessment lines up with testimony provided by top military officials in 2006, warning that chemical weapons still hidden in Iraq could be used by future jihad forces.
"These are chemical munitions, and be definition, dangerous," Army Lt. Gen. Michael D. Maples, then-director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, explained to the House Armed Services Committee.
"They are dangerous. Even in degraded mode, they will produce hazardous and potentially lethal effects, and that we would categorize them as weapons of mass destruction," Maples explained.
National security officials told For the Record that the combination of Islamic State fighters holding Western passports and the porous condition of the U.S. border has created an imminent threat to Americans.
And Andrew McCarthy -- the former assistant U.S. attorney who led the prosecution of the "blind sheik," Omar Abdel Rahman, for the 1993 World Trade Center bombing -- provided a grave warning: He doesn't believe the Islamic State will hesitate to execute a lethal "spectacular" attack, potentially with chemical weapons.
"I think right now we're in a very dangerous situation, because I think there was a time in the late 90s when Al Qaeda might wait to be able to do the spectacular strike, and I'm not sure these guys would," McCarthy said. "To me, that's a combustible combination."
Experts also told For the Record the Islamic State's massive bankroll makes the chemical weapons threat even more significant.
"They have $2 billion in assets. So can they get those through the border? Chances are, drugs come through the border ever day," Fairchild said. "Do they have already-established connections? I can’t tell ya, but if they don’t, they’ve got $2 billion in assets to buy those connections."
Check out For the Record's coverage of the Islamic State and the lingering danger with these forgotten weapons of mass destruction.
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