911 Panel: WMD "Greatest Danger"

Matthew Cook

The “greatest danger of another catastrophic attack in the United States” comes from weapons of mass destruction (WMD), according to the July 22 report released by the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks upon the United States.

The report of the independent commission, informally known as the 9/11 Commission, said “maximum effort” is warranted to prevent further proliferation and recommended four basic strategies.

The 10-member bipartisan commission called upon the United States to work with other countries to develop laws and legal regimes that strengthen counterproliferation efforts. Pointing to the black market nuclear network set up by Pakistani nuclear scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan (see ACT, March 2004), the report urged the establishment of an “international legal regime with universal jurisdiction to enable the capture, interdiction, and prosecution of such smugglers.”

The commission report also called for the expansion of the Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI), an international partnership created by the Bush administration to stop and seize shipments of nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons and related missile technology. The commission suggested PSI, which currently numbers 15 core participants, utilize NATO resources and encourage the participation of non-NATO countries, particularly China.

The report also recommended substantial support for the Cooperative Threat Reduction program, which attempts to secure dangerous weapons and materials in the former Soviet Union and elsewhere.

Finally, as part of its proposed reorganization of the intelligence community, the report called for the creation of a national intelligence center on WMD proliferation.