WikiLeaks: Terrorists may get n-material in YemenDecember 21st, 2010 - 2:48 pm ICT by IANS
London, Dec 21 (IANS) With the lone guard at Yemen’s main store of radioactive products being removed and the CCTV system breaking down six months ago, “very little now stands between the bad guys and Yemen’s nuclear material”, said an official in Yemen whose warning is mentioned in a US diplomatic cable released by WikLeaks.The senior government official told the Americans that the solitary guard at Yemen’s National Atomic Energy Commission (NAEC) facility had been removed from his post. Also, the only closed circuit TV security camera had broken down six months back and wasn’t repaired, The Guardian reported Tuesday.
“Very little now stands between the bad guys and Yemen’s nuclear material,” the official said, in a cable dated Jan 9 that was sent from the Sana’a embassy.
Yemen is Al Qaida’s one of most active bases after Iraq and Afghanistan. It is home to Al-Qaida in the Arab Peninsula (AQAP).
US Ambassador Stephen Seche said the “worried” official asked Washington to convince the Yemen government “to remove all materials from the country until they can be better secured, or immediately improve security measures at the NAEC facility”.
The cable said that the facility holds large quantities of radioactive material used by hospitals, by local universities for agricultural research, and in oilfields.
The poor security at the Yemen facility would be a “high priority” for the US government, said experts.
When Matthew Bunn, a former White House science adviser who specialises in nuclear threats and terrorism, was told of the cable’s details of the type of materials and the amount stored in Yemen’s NAEC facility, he said: “Holy cow. That’s a big source.”
“If dispersed by terrorists it could make a very nasty dirty bomb capable of contaminating a wide area,” The Guardian quoted Bunn as saying.
He said that such a bomb would be “enough to make a mess that would cost tens of billions of dollars in cleanup costs and economic disruption, with all sorts of controversy over how clean is clean, how will people go back there”.
“The location in Yemen is obviously of particular concern given terrorism, given Al-Qaida in the Arab Peninsula headquartered there, also the spotty effectiveness of the government…I would think it would be a high priority to do something about it.”
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- Yemen offered US 'open door' to attack Al Qaida: WikiLeaks - Dec 04, 2010
- Al-Qaida in Yemen "Western-made," says Yemeni PM - Nov 07, 2010
- Al-Qaida wing claims to form 12,000-strong army in southern Yemen - Jul 30, 2010
- Obama concerned about Yemen - May 22, 2012
- Al-Qaida's latest threat to US: poisoning food in hotels, restaurants over single weekend - Dec 21, 2010
- Terror bombs were primed to bring down cargo planes in mid-air - Oct 31, 2010
- Dozens killed in fresh Yemen clashes - Jul 31, 2011
- Six soldiers killed in terrorist attack in central Yemen - May 15, 2011
- Al-Qaeda says it is holding US hostage (Lead) - Dec 02, 2011
- Al-Qaeda says it is holding US hostage (Second Lead, Changing dateline) - Dec 02, 2011
- 3 of 12 Americans detained in Yemen over terror charges - Jun 09, 2010
- Yemen puts $100,000 reward for eight Al Qaida men - Oct 17, 2010
- Yemen charges US-born radical cleric Al-Awlaki for first time - Nov 03, 2010
Tags: agricultural research, arab peninsula, atomic energy commission, cctv system, cleanup costs, closed circuit tv, dirty bomb, economic disruption, high priority, holy cow, naec, national atomic, nuclear material, nuclear threats, poor security, radioactive material, radioactive products, science adviser, security measures, yemen government