Homeland Security is not secure and the American people remain vulnerable to the next terrorist attack, which will come within the immediate future and will involve nuclear and radiological weapons.
That is the lesson of Hurricane Katrina and the chaos in New Orleans. The U.S. remains unable to evacuate the citizens, to provide emergency shelter, to contain the rampant violence and to remove the hundreds of putrefying bodies from the floodwaters. Medical helicopters and law officers have come under fire; storm survivors battle for seats on the buses that would carry them away from the chaos; murders and rapes have occurred within the New Orleans Convention Center, which was supposed to serve as a place of refuge.
The situation, as pointed out by Yoram East in Joseph Farah’s G-2 Bulletin, sends a clear message to al-Qaida terrorists. America is unprepared for even a single disaster within a medium-sized city, let alone a nuclear disaster within a major metropolitan area.
As the situation in New Orleans continued to worsen, reports began to surface about nuclear weapons and materials being transported over the Mexican border by MS-13 gang members, who are now serving as “coyotes” for terrorist organizations, including al-Qaida. Adnan el-Shukrijumah, who has been identified by the FBI as the next Mohamed Atta, met with MS-13 jefes at an internet caf? in Tegucigalpa, the capital of Honduras, on May 27, 2004.
In the wake of the meeting, over 9,000 Special Interest Aliens (illegal immigrants from terror-related countries such as Pakistan, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Yemen, Syria, Lebanon and even Iraq) have been apprehended by the U.S. Border Patrol.
Concern about el-Shukrijumah and his ties with MS-13 were further heightened with the arrest of Sharif al-Masri in Pakistan. Al-Masri, a key al-Qaida operative with close ties to Ayman al-Zawahiri, informed his interrogators that al-Qaida made arrangements to smuggle nuclear materials into the U.S. with the help of a Latino street gang. He later identified the street gang as MS-13.
Al-Masri also provided testimony that nuclear weapons, which had been built for al-Qaida with the assistance of scientists and technicians from the A. Q. Khan Research Facility in Pakistan, had been forward-deployed to Mexico for transport into the U.S. Although news of al-Masri’s alarming testimony was published in several leading news journals, including The Nation, it failed to capture the attention of many major news outlets, let alone Homeland Security.
In July, I received word from a smuggler who claimed to have transported nuclear supplies into the U.S. The smuggler, who hailed from El Paso, was not only a firsthand source but a degreed engineer who possessed a background in nuclear technology. He wished to relay this information to government officials in order to prevent an event that would kill millions of Americans, including his family and friends.
Knowing the urgency of this message, I contacted government and law enforcement officials.
That was four weeks ago.
The lack of response is not surprising. The national security seems to reside with boobs and bureaucrats. We are witnessing a similar lack of reaction with Hurricane Katrina.
While writing “The Al Qaeda Connection: International Terrorism, Organized Crime, and the Coming Apocalypse,” I was able to break into the confidential records and reports of the Department of Homeland Security. This feat would not be alarming save for the fact that I am a computer illiterate who types with two fingers.
We are engaged in a war not against terror but against radical Islam. The enemy that we face has announced that 4 million Americans must die for the sake of parity. Al-Qaida has been amassing nuclear weapons since 1992. Empirical proof of bin Laden’s nuclear capability has been provided in such places as Kandahar, Herat, Kabul and a checkpoint at Ramallah.
On Nov. 14, 2004, Michael Scheuer, the CIA agent who had been charge on the bin Laden file (codenamed “Alec”), appeared on “60 Minutes” to warn the American people that a nuclear attack by al-Qaida in major cities throughout the U.S. “is pretty close to being inevitable.”
Despite this warning, the borders remain wide open; less than 10 percent of the cargo coming into our ports is being inspected; organized crime continues to control activity at many major airports; and currently installed radiation detention systems remain limited in their capabilities and insufficient for the task.
The next disaster to hit America may be a nuclear hell-storm, the details of which were found on the lap-top computer of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed at the time of his arrest in Karachi on March 1, 2003.
When that hell-storm hits, Katrina will appear kind.
Paul L. Williams is the author of “Osama’s Revenge” and a new book, “The Al Qaeda Connection: International Terrorism, Organized Crime and the Coming Apocalypse.”