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WASHINGTON – It was little more than a rumor during the darkest days of the Cold War.

Did agents of the Soviet Union conceal nuclear and biological weapons of mass destruction inside the U.S. and other western cities?

New evidence suggests they did – and that Osama bin Laden’s al-Qaida terrorists network is determined to find them and use them with the help of bribed Russian spies or special forces soldiers who have maintained their secret locations for all these years.

According to a report by Gordon Thomas and David M. Dastych in the latest issue of the Polish news and opinion weekly Wprost, U.S. authorities searched in vain for the nuclear devices in New York City the day after the Sept. 11, 2001, al-Qaida attacks.

They had been tipped off about the possible existence of Russian “suitcase nukes” in the area by officials in Poland and the Czech Republic, according to the report.

No nuclear weapons were found Sept. 12, 2001, or thereafter. But, more recently, U.S. intelligence services have become concerned about efforts by terrorists to buy off former Soviet and current Russian agents with knowledge of the weapons.

The report also cites the work of Paul L. Williams, an investigative reporter, former FBI consultant and author of several books, including “Osama’s Revenge: The Next 9/11,” which claims al-Qaida sleeper agents have already stashed suitcase nukes in several major U.S. cities as well as Rappahannock, Va., where the U.S. government maintains an underground bunker as a command-and-control center for wartime or national emergency.

As WorldNetDaily reported earlier this week, Williams describes how al-Qaida has already purchased some post-Soviet mini-nukes and hired Russians to help them operate them. The report was first published in Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin, the premium, online intelligence newsletter published by WND’s founder.

Williams predicted in his book a nuclear attack by al-Qaida would be launched before the end of 2005.

Several U.S. officials have alluded to the threat recently.

“It may be only a matter of time before al-Qaida or another group attempts to use chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear weapons,” said Porter Goss, director of central intelligence before a Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.

Robert S. Mueller III, director of the FBI, said: “I am also very concerned with a growing body of sensitive reporting that continues to show al-Qaida’s clear intention to obtain and ultimately use some form of chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear or high-energy explosives material in its attacks against America.”

In addition, Thomas and Dastych report Britain’s MI5 has identified 32 spies of the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service operating under full diplomatic cover from their London embassy. The spies reportedly have links to deep-cover KGB agents who, during the Cold War, hid scores of genetically engineered biological warfare weapons in Britain’s countryside. MI5 believes the Russian spies are still actively concealing the locations of the germ vials.

Meanwhile, KGB spymaster Alexander Kouzminov confirms his agents planted the vials. He, too, believes Russian agents are still involved in guarding them.

“Huge efforts and money was spent in our work,” he explained. “It would be foolish to believe our people were stood down just because Russia took part in biological weapons talks in Geneva.”

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