FAS Reports on Links between the Norway Terrorist Events and Possible Future Attacks Utilizing Weapons of Mass Destruction
Author: Monica Amarelo
On July 22, 2011, Anders Breivik conducted one of the most deadly terrorist attack in history (out of over 98,000 incidents of terrorism since 1970, less that 200 have been more deadly and all of those attacks involved multiple perpetrators). Breivik left a 1500 page treatise, 2083: A European Declaration of Independence, which became available a few days ago. FAS experts analyzed this treatise and concluded that the nature of these attacks, along with the contents of the treatise raise questions of immediate concern. These include Breivik's alleged connections to extremist cells and his assertions of forthcoming attacks involving chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) weapons.
- Brevik made claims that he is in league with extremist cells and that some of these co-conspirators “are already in the process of attempting to acquire chemical, biological, radiological, or nuclear materials."
- Brevik was motivated and capable of credibly pursuing low-end CBRN attacks—specifically those likely to result in mass effect as opposed to mass destruction
While it remains likely that Breivik acted alone, Charles Blair, director of the FAS Terrorism Analysis Project, is not comfortable assuming that this is the case.
"Given the operational sophistication of Breivik's attacks, and the overall operational security that he maintained for years, it is axiomatic that Breivik’s threats should be considered in great detail," Blair said.
"Should Breivik be part of a cell of violent extremists, it is possible that his compatriots could have access to sophisticated CBRN materials. If this is the case, they could actualize Breivik's more ambitious plans for a CBRN attack and kill hundreds of individuals, " said Kelsey Gregg, project manager of the FAS Biosecurity Program and manager of the Virtual Biosecurity Center.
Given the nature of Breivik's attacks and the content of his treatise, should the security community seriously consider the possibility that cells of violent extremists are linked to Breivik and are in pursuit of launching an attack with a radiological and/or biological weapon?
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