States such as Libya, Syria and possibly Sudan are quietly trying to acquire or expand secret arsenals of weapons of mass destruction, the CIA has warned.
The US Central Intelligence Agency has also concluded that Osama bin Laden "has a more sophisticated biological weapons research program than previously discovered."
"Nuclear, chemical, biological, and ballistic missile-applicable technology and expertise continues to gradually disperse worldwide," the agency said in a report submitted to Congress last month and made public Tuesday, AFP reported.
In the document, the CIA indicated that nations from the State Department's list of state sponsors of terrorism were involved in activities to obtain WMD.
One of them is Libya, which, according the report, continues to develop its nuclear infrastructure. "In 2001, Libya and other countries reportedly used their secret services to try to obtain technical information on the development of weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear weapons," the CIA assessment indicated.
According to the report, Tripoli tried to negotiate with Russia a deal to buy a nuclear reactor and secure Moscow's assistance in developing the Tajura Nuclear Research Center.
"Such civil-sector work could present Libya with opportunities to pursue technologies that also would be suitable for military purposes," the U.S. spy agency concluded.
"Tripoli still appears to be working toward an offensive chemical weapons (CW) capability and eventually indigenous production," the report said. "Evidence suggests that Libya is also seeking to acquire the capability to develop and produce BW (biological weapons) agents."
Syria is suspected of trying to acquire precursor materials and know-how for a chemical weapons program. "Damascus already holds a stockpile of the nerve agent sarin but apparently is trying to develop more toxic and persistent nerve agents," the CIA said.
The agency believes it is "highly probable" that Syria is also developing biological weapons.
As for Sudan, the CIA said this country "has been developing the capability to produce chemical weapons for many years," and "may be interested in a BW program as well." (Albawaba.com)
© 2003 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com )