The terrorism threat to the U.S. over the next five years will be driven by instability in the Middle East and Africa, challenges to border security, and increasing Internet savvy, says a new intelligence assessment reported by the Associated Press. Chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear attacks are considered the most dangerous threats. Those are also the most unlikely, because it is so difficult to acquire the materials needed to carry out such plots, says the Homeland Security Threat Assessment for the years 2008-2013.
Al-Qaeda continues to focus on U.S. targets that are vulnerable to huge economic losses, casualties and political “turmoil,” the assessment says. This month, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said the threat posed by weapons of mass destruction remained “the highest priority at the federal level.” He said more people would learn how to make dirty bombs and biological and chemical weapons. The report, “for official use only,” does not specify its audience, but the assessments typically go to law enforcement, intelligence officials, and the private sector. Intelligence officials predict that extremists will try to conduct a destructive biological attack.