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CB Terror Notes

(1) Berkowitz et al. are a little more conservative in their estimate, noting that "the adult LD50 [the dose fatal to 50% of the exposed population] is of the order of a millionth of a gram, making this material two or three orders of magnitude more toxic than the V-agent nerve gases" (1972: VIII-41). Later, they write: "Most certainly, not more than a few micrograms—perhaps even a fraction of a microgram—of pure type A toxin is sufficient to produce at least serious illness and slow convalescense; more probably, death" (1972: VIII-43).[Return]

(2) Berkowitz et al. similarly note that "While the terrorist may be incapable of mounting continent-wide strategic attacks with BW agents, smaller attacks on cities are not impracticable" (1972: VIII-88).[Return]

(3) See also: Kupperman 1984: 77.[Return]

(4) See also McGeorge, who writes that "Political terrorists bent on destroying the existing social order have, with biological weapons, the capacity to kill more people than would be possible if they possessed a small tactical nuclear weapon" (1986: 57 and 1988: 20). Berkowitz et al. agree: "There is little doubt...that with a degree of technical expertise equivalent to that assumed for the INW [illicit nuclear weapon], the mortality levels resulting from a biological attack could exceed those from a nuclear attack" (1972: IX-7). Similarly, Ponte states (with considerable exaggeration) that "With germs as with nerve gas, a terrorist or fanatic acquires the capability to destroy whole cities. The possession of a vat of appropriate bacteria, the 'poor man's H-bomb,' gives a terrorist firepower comparable to that of any nuclear superpower" (1977: 79).[Return]

(5) According to Berkowitz et al.: "There are few if any reasons why complete secrecy cannot be maintained during the development of this capability" (1972: VIII-65).[Return]

(6) Of course, this characteristic may also work against terrorists by making it more difficult for them to claim responsibility for a particular incident (US House Armed Services Committee 1993: 26).[Return]

(7) Berkowitz et al. also make this point, elaborating somewhat further: "Unlike the INW [illicit nuclear weapon] case with its reasonable limitation to one or, at most, a few weapons and unlike the CW case with its dependence on fairly large delivery systems for a widespread attack, the biological pathogens are well adapted to demonstration attacks on small, isolated targets without significantly impairing the terrorist's capability for large-scale attack. Consequently, they seem to offer a unique effectiveness as the basis of a coercive threat or extortion plot" (1972: VIII-64). [Return]

(8) In the words of Berkowitz et al.: "...even limited or selective dissemination to a particular target group maintains the implicit potential for a widespread attack with its powerful psychological effect. Although the details and problems of BW are poorly understood by the general public, it elicits strongly negative attitudes. In light of the recent US renunciation of BW as an offensive military capability, these public attitudes have undoubtedly been reinforced, so that the threat of a terrorist BW attack would result in much sensationalism, exaggeration, and emotional distress" (1972: VIII-64).[Return]

(9) Cf. Berkowitz et al.: "The casualty producing effectiveness of a practicable biological threat is...frighteningly great and...require[s] a level of effort and resources at least an order of magnitude smaller than that of the INW [illicit nuclear weapon] threat" (Berkowitz et al. 1972: I-14).[Return]

(10) See also Harvard biochemist Matthew Meselson, as quoted in Marshall 1990: 372; and Harvey McGeorge: "Toxins or biological agents can be made with little trouble, working literally in a kitchen or garage. Manufacturing a lethal bacterial disease agent requires little more than chicken soup, a flat whiskey bottle and an available source of seed culture" (Roosevelt 1986: 40-41). Griffith appears to agree, asserting that "biological agents can be easily prepared in little more than a well-equipped kitchen....The growth medium for bacteria is not much more difficult to make than is Jello; chicken eggs are usually used for growing viruses." He goes on: "Incubation depends on an appropriate temperature range more than anything else but a homemade storage unit of plywood can be heated with light bulbs and made to serve the purpose. Harvest is probably the most difficult step for the amateur. First, at this stage he may contaminate himself. Secondly, he needs some skill at separating the organism 'crop' from the medium in or on which it has been growing. But a little practice will soon overcome these problems" (1975).[Return]

(11) See also David, who maintains that "the professional qualifications required for the production and storage of significant quantities of [BW] agents are more difficult to meet than in the case of chemical agents" (1985: 146); and Kupperman and Trent, who argue that, compared to CW, "there is limited commercial availability of deadly pathogens. Moreover, the growth, care, and dispersion of biological agents require more technological sophistication than does the dispensing of chemicals" (1979: 85). Douglass and Livingstone, however, hold the opposite view, that the use of chemical weapons is more technically demanding (1987: 23).[Return]

(12) Douglass and Livingstone cite a report by the BDM Corporation that "the 'ideal' requirements for manufacturing a fairly sophisticated biological weapon include one microbiologist with knowledge of disease processes; one engineer; one vegetative bacterial pathogen; a microbiology laboratory; a bottle production plant; sterilizer capacity for the bottle production plant; and shop space and equipment. In addition, accurate formulae, a dispersing device and a detailed plan of attack are needed." However, they go on: "Though even these requirements are not particularly formidable, knowledgeable experts say that a resourceful terrorist group could cut corners and build a 'no frills' weapon even more easily" (1987: 22).[Return]

(13) Berkowitz et al. judge that "An experimental microbiologist and a pathologist, or someone who combines these capabilities, would be crucial to the threat group. In fact, their presence would be largely determinant in directing the group toward the biological pathogens. Supplemented with a little help and advice from an aerosol physicist and a meteorologist, a completely adequate set of capabilities would be at hand. At that, the contribution expected of these latter two specialists is not particularly advanced, and could probably be provided by another scientifically trained team member....Should the terrorists' plan require larger than laboratory scale quantities of pathogens, someone with experience in the fermentation or vaccine industries would make a strong contribution to the group" (1972: VIII-65-66).[Return]

(14) Elsewhere in the same article, however, Root-Bernstein appears to contradict himself, writing: "To engage in bioterrorism requires only...a sophisticated understanding of the properties of various edible plants, medicinal herbs, toxins and venoms, and infectious and pharmaceutical agents" (1991: 48).[Return]

(15) See also: Jenkins and Rubin 1978: 226.[Return]

(16) Cf. Kupperman and Trent: "Although growing virulent biologicals is a hazardous activity for the amateur, and making large quantities takes considerable skill and judgment, many thousands of people are sufficiently trained to perform such tasks" (1979: 56-7). Elsewhere, Kupperman suggests that the manufacture of biological agents could be accomplished by "one Ph.D. and one MA level microbiologist with extensive training in the handling of pathogens," together with "a few brave or unknowing assistants" (1984: 77).[Return]

(17) On botulinal toxin, see also Kupperman and Trent, who state that it "is easily produced and there is a considerable literature on its anaerobic growth and care. Serologic typing for virulence is a standard task for the microbiologist; techniques of continuous culturing are well understood; and the separation and purification of the toxin are also widely known" (1979: 65). Berkowitz et al. concur with this judgment: "...the open technical literature dealing with identification, culture, spore formation, toxin production, and other properties of C. botulinum, and with the preparation of concentrated and purified toxin itself, is profuse....there is no dearth of open information regarding the technical requirements for developing a BTX threat" (1972: VIII-42). Later, they conclude: "...once a satisfactory seed culture is obtained and the necessary technique developed one person should be able to handle the set-up, cultivation, partial purification, and clean-up of two 3-gallon batches per week, producing about 350 mg of 66% pure BTX weekly. If a greater production rate is desired, parallel batches may be processed or continuous cultivation techniques used....To isolate the seed culture, a competent microbiologist and a small bacteriology laboratory are needed; the requisite equipment can be assembled for less than $3,000. Alternatively, access to an existing laboratory would be adequate for the early steps (acquiring and characterizing the seed culture), leaving only the production steps to be conducted clandestinely. Experimental animal requirements can be minimized if the terrorist is primarily interested in a practical, rather than a scientifically elegant, threat. (Berkowitz et al. 1972: VIII-50).[Return]

(18) Kupperman and Trent agree, stating: "Unfortunately, after having obtained a virulent strain, even a modestly trained microbiologist could continuously culture the organisms. The techniques for its preparation and care are well known" (1979: 68).[Return]

(19) See also the warning of Harvey McGeorge, in 1986, that "with the unfortunate poor economic health of the bio-tech industry, we can take it for granted that there is no lack of unemployed, highly skilled individuals, who, out of financial desperation might be willing to compromise their ethics in order to feed their families" (Roosevelt 1986: 42).[Return]

(20) Griffith points out that "Medical and military criteria for BW agents are less important for urban guerilla warfare than for large-scale military use because the situation is entirely different. For this reason many diseases are suitable BW agents even though they may not meet all the usual 'military' qualifications" (1975).[Return]

(21) Watkins is skeptical of the latter role, arguing that "Incapacitating agents such as those causing influenza and brucellosis do not fulfil the requirements of terrorist groups since they fail to terrorize. Furthermore, unlike a national military force, the terrorist has little need to enhance his ability to manoeuvre forces relative to an enemy, and therefore it seems much more likely that one of the small number of lethal agents would be employed by terrorists" (1987: 195). From a rather different perspective, in relation to attempted incapacitation, Berkowitz et al. caution that "While biological pathogens can be generally characterized as more or less severely incapacitating or lethal, statistical variations in age, sex, state of health, and resistance of the target population can result in significant mortality levels even when a nominally incapacitating agent is used" (1972: VIII-55). [Return]

(22) Compare McGeorge: "Manufacturing and storage are perhaps the greatest limiting factors in the preparation of a biological agent. The need for embryonated eggs as a growth medium for viral or rickettsial agents makes their use unlikely. Bacterial agents, on the other hand, can be readily produced in a bottle plant and tens of kilograms of suitable agents such as anthrax could be produced as a liquid slurry in a matter of weeks" (1986: 60).[Return]

(23) Berkowitz et al. point out that "For small-scale, direct contamination attacks in which the agent is brought directly into contact with the victim, thereby avoiding such stressful processes as desiccation or aerosolization, the resistance criterion is of little importance and delicate organisms such as that responsible for tularemia can be employed. If, on the other hand, a large-scale, aerosol cloud attack is contemplated, more resistant organisms would be preferred. Outstanding among these are the spore formers such as the anthrax bacterium and the fungi, but the viability of less rugged pathogens can be enhanced by various stabilizing processes" (1972: VIII-67).[Return]

(24) See also Watkins: "...anthrax has many characteristics which make it an ideal agent for use as a weapon. Anthrax cultures form spores which remain dormant for years, thus giving ordinance an extraordinary shelf-life. Spores most commonly cause serious skin lesions, but they are nearly 100 per cent fatal when inhaled or swallowed and antibiotics are only effective if administered before onset of symptoms. There is a preventive vaccination, but it is not widely used or readily available. There is no method for decontamination" (1987: 193).[Return]

(25) Watkins also notes that "Although these laboratories [in Atlanta and Moscow] are inspected periodically by the World Health Organisation to ensure microbiologic integrity, no serious attempt has been made to prevent forced intrusion" (1987: 197-8).[Return]

(26) See also the testimony of Law Professor Francis A. Boyle, who refers to the possibility of "'terrorist' states, groups, or individuals...contracting with U.S. genetic engineering firms for the production of biological weapons" (SCJ 1990: 103); Ketcham and McGeorge, who speculate about terrorist "use of a genetically modified bacterium to infect members of a specific ethnic group with a lethal disease" (1986: 32); McGeorge, who describes terrorist use of genetic engineering as "a strong possibility" (Roosevelt 1986: 41); and Ponte, who warns that "terrorists might acquire lethal germs custom-tailored by recombinant DNA technology" (1980: 52). See also: Louria 1981: 17-21.[Return]

(27) Berkowitz et al. similarly note that, although "Some BTX is produced by the pharmaceutical industry for the manufacture of protective toxoid and therapeutic anti-toxin," "Illicit attempts to acquire this material might arouse suspicion and possibly disclose a plot before it got very far" (1972: VIII-46).[Return]

(28) See also Simon 1989: 3; and Berkowitz et al., who speculate that "The publicity given the Army's destruction of biological agents notwithstanding, stockpiles of BTX may still exist. If so, they provide a possible source of supply for terrorists seeking this material" (1972: VIII-45-46).[Return]

(29) One exception is Mullins, who states that "The delivery of biological agents would be easy to accomplish" (1992: 103). Another is Watkins, who argues that "Because of their small size, simple dispersal and delayed effect, biological weapons are quite simple for a terrorist to employ" (1987: 191) and that "Biological agents can be employed as weapons using relatively primitive technology" (1987: 195). This view is evidently also shared by Phillip Karber of Georgetown University's Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), who is quoted by Ponte as warning that "it is possible for one individual to decimate the population of New York City by disseminating ten pounds of biological agents from the top of the Empire State Building at night" (1980: 53).[Return]

(30) See also Griffith, who posits as additional disincentives that "the guerillas will not be able to separate their people from the general population who drink the water" and that "getting into the water system at a suitable place is no easy matter" (1975).[Return]

(31) See also Ponte 1977: 79.[Return]

(32) See also Berkowitz et al.: "Considering the sheer terror that a group of terrorists could produce by indiscriminate, repeated, small scale distribution of BTX in places that provide food for consumption without cooking (injections into supermarket produce such as melons or apples, soda fountain ice cream supplies, dairy or bottling plant output, etc.), the potentialities appear quite awesome. But this would hardly be considered mass destruction" (1972: VIII-51).[Return]

(33) Berkowitz et al. go so far as to say that "Probably the most important aspect of a large-scale terrorist attack with biological pathogens is the practicability of employing aerosol dissemination....The repeated observation that these diseases are transmissible by airborne infection and the fact that the respiratory or pneumonic forms induced are their most acute and severe lead inescapably to the conclusion that if aerosol dissemination is a practicable terrorist capability, it must constitute a major civil threat. This is accentuated by the fact that for almost all these diseases artificial transmission via airborne pathogens is more effective than the process of natural spread" (1972: VIII-78-79).[Return]

(34) See also: Berkowitz et al. 1972: IX-9.[Return]

(35) See also McGeorge: "Another effective device would be a vehicle-mounted liquid sprayer similar to those used to dispense insecticides in residential areas. The right nozzle would help disseminate an agent like anthrax. Terrorists are likely to use this technique on more dispersed populations, including housing areas, or to create a cloud of agent that will drift undetected over a protected target" (1986: 60).[Return]

(36) See also: Kupperman and Smith 1989: 103.[Return]

(37) Berkowitz et al. also make reference to the effects of urban smog in attenuating microbial aerosols, adding: "It is a strange commentary on our culture that atmospheric pollution may provide a degree of protection against bacteriological attack whether of international or terrorist instigation" (1972: VIII-88).[Return]

(38) As Berkowitz et al. put it: "Large crowds which remain in enclosed spaces for moderate lengths of time are ideal targets" (1972: IX-9).[Return]

(39) Berkowitz et al. cite the 75,000-seat Houston Astrodome as an example of this type, noting that "Aerosolization of 15 ml of anthrax spore culture in this volume results in the inhalation of an infective dose in 30 minutes. Using the small Chicago atomizer, this culture volume can be aerosolized in 15 minutes with a primary air flow supplied by one 9" by 55" compressed nitrogen tank" (1972: IX-9).[Return]

(40) To his account of this incident, Watkins adds: "The Serratia marcesences bacterium used in this experiment is now recognized as a frequent cause of serious, sometimes fatal, hospital acquired infections. The San Francisco spraying might have been responsible for the rare outbreak of eleven cases of serratia pneumonia reported the following year in the Archives of Internal Medicine" (1987: 199, fn.3).[Return]

(41) The US Congressional Office of Technology Assessment notes that "Many threats have been made to poison municipal water supplies, food, and pharmaceuticals by terrorists with political, social, and religious motivations, as well as by criminals (extortionists), disgruntled employees, and (possibly) mentally disturbed individuals" (1992: 40). [Return]

(42) Cf. the testimony of Ronald K. Noble, US Deputy Assistant Attorney General, before the Senate Committee on the Judiciary in 1989: "...fortunately this country has apparently not experienced the deliberate use on US soil of biological toxins and weapons as a means of terrorist attack" (SCJ 1990: 47).[Return]

(43) The US House Committee on Armed Services uses identical language in its 1993 report on Countering the Chemical and Biological Weapons Threat in the Post-Soviet World, adding: "In a few isolated incidents terrorist groups have been caught with biological cultures, or biological or chemical agents in their possession" (25-26).[Return]

(44) See also the remarks of Harvey J. McGeorge: "There is ample recent and ongoing use of biological or toxin agents by terrorist groups with international connections" (Roosevelt 1986: 39).[Return]

(45) Cf. Kupperman and Kamen: "Terrorist and dissident groups have long evinced an interest in biologicals, even though the actual threats have thus far been extremely limited" (1989: 104).[Return]

(46) In his survey of historical incidents of CB terrorism, McGeorge proposes a more elaborate categorization scheme, as follows:

I. Use

  • use—actions not accompanied by extortion demands that involves [sic] the actual release of agent material;
  • extortion based on use—extortion demands accompanied by evidence of actual use/possession of CB agent;
  • planned operation—operations involving CB agents which were either aborted or abandoned before execution.

II. Threats

  • threat—threatened use of CB agents.
  • extortion—extortion demands accompanied by threats of CB agent use without demonstration of an actual capability.

III. Acquisition

  • purchase—peaceful acquisition of materials enabling or enhancing a capability to use CB agents.
  • theft—acquisition of CB agents or materials which involves stealth or force.
  • fabrication—growth or fabrication of CB agents, disseminators or related materials.

IV. Indirect

  • sabotage—vandalism or destruction of a military CBW facility or CB related transportation element.
  • occupation—trespass or occupation of a CBW related facility without the apparent intent to release, steal or sabotage agents or related materials. (1994: 12-13) [Return]

(47) See also Berkowitz et al.: "What little information is available indicates that RISE was poorly conceived. Not only was it discovered in time, but the choice of Salmonella typhi as the organism poses only a moderate threat; they are destroyed readily in water by the routine methods of chlorination" (Berkowitz et al. 1972: VI-6, citing Smith et al. 1960: 381).[Return]

(48) See also Kellett, who adds that the personal secretary of the Indian guru Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh had pleaded guilty to the act, and concludes that "While possibly not a politically-motivated act, nor one with international ramifications, this incident demonstrates the potential for biological terrorism" (1988: 56). Also in regard to this incident, McGeorge notes that "Additionally, efforts to develop a means to spread AIDS via aerosolized HIV contaminated blood were reported" (1994: 12).[Return]

(49) Harvey McGeorge provides the greatest detail on the Korczak case, and adds Col. Houari Boumedienne, the President of Algeria, to the list of alleged ricin victims (Roosevelt 1986: 39).[Return]

(50) McGeorge, in referring to the ricin-tipped umbrella weapon, also notes that "This weapon is similar in concept to an earlier U.S. dart gun that reportedly used saxitoxin as the contaminant" (1986: 61).[Return]

(51) See also the words of a UN study quoted by Berkowitz et al.: "Aside from its anti-personnel (animal, plant) character, the outstanding characteristic of biological pathogens 'is the variability, amounting under some circumstances to unpredictability, of their effects. Depending on environmental and meteorological conditions, and depending on the particular agent used, the effects might be devastating or negligible'" (1972: VIII-54, quoting UN 1970: para.10).[Return]

(52) Berkowitz et al. similarly note that the fact that "the exact target area and the long-range ecological consequences are very difficult and occasionally impossible to predict," together with the general "unpredictability and complicated consequences of BW," "appear to be desirable attributes from the terrorist's viewpoint" (1972: VIII-63).[Return]

(53) On this point, Berkowitz et al. quote at length from another study, reporting that "Despite elaborate safety measures,...two Detrick personnel contracted anthrax and died in the late 1950's and another caught Venezuelan equine encephalitis and died in 1964. The latter disease is one that is categorized by CBW officials as not a lethal but an incapacitating agent. An earlier accident with brucellosis took the life of a young woman working on the base." The source adds that there were "some 400 other cases over a 26 year period where the victims did not die" (1972: VIII-66-67, quoting McCarthy 1969: 28).[Return]

(54) In the words of Berkowitz et al., with respect to BTX: "The risks are primarily associated with accidental ingestion or inhalation of droplets of the material, and are normally guarded against by careful laboratory technique and the use of protective equipment such as masks and goggles. In addition, a technically sophisticated operation would include toxoid preparation for self-immunization" (1972: VIII-50). Berkowitz et al. later note that "vaccines which might be used to protect members of the terrorist team are available for anthrax, plague, tularemia and Rocky Mountain spotted fever. None of these have been extensively used for the population at large" (1972: VIII-68). However, they warn that "No immunological protection for cryptococcus infection is known; this organism would present a serious hazard to the attacker" (1972: VIII-73). [Return]

(55) Watkins agrees with this characterization of the population most at risk, adding that "disease is most likely to be spread in crowded and unsanitary living conditions" and that "Therefore it seems certain that the civilian community will bear the greatest brunt of a biological attack." However, he goes on to suggest that "This fact seems to be highly compatible with terrorist requirements since their acts are so frequently indiscriminate violence" (1987: 196).[Return]

(56) Bremer, however, argues that "As the targets originally preferred by terrorists have become 'harder,' that is to say better defended, terrorists have usually switched targets rather than turn to new technologies to penetrate defenses" (1988: 3).[Return]

(57) Cf. Douglass and Livingstone: "As violence in the modern world becomes more and more routinized and commonplace, terrorists may strive to reach ever greater heights of terror to capture headlines and television time, and ultimately to force governments to do their will" (1987: 15). Also: Roosevelt 1986:39.[Return]

(58) See also Roosevelt 1986: 39.[Return]

(59) Simon's use of the term "nationalistic" here is interesting, in that it appears to contradict Roberts' point referred to earlier that ethnic groups seeking to annihilate their traditional enemies may resort to BW in order to do so.[Return]

(60) Elsewhere, however, Wiener is less pessimistic, arguing: " air sampling device might serve to document an attack after exposure but before the onset of illness in a target population....Massive continuous air sampling using concentration methods, specific culture media, and sensitive and specific rapid identification tests should be capable of providing a postexposure warning for many of the agents" (Wiener 1991a: 131). See also OTA 1992: 41. For anthrax, the OTA states that "Use of Reynier or Anderson air samplers, containing bacterial culture plates, would allow detection of an attack prior to the onset of clinical illness in those exposed" (1992: 37). According to Karl-Heinz Karisch: "The fastest currently available tests require between 30 minutes and one hour to prove the use of bacteriological weapons" (1991).[Return]

(61) Earlier in the same article, however, Watkins states flatly that "unlike nuclear weapons, there is no way to restrict the availability of biological agents....wide availability of natural disease agents and the inherent ability of micro-organisms to reproduce make it impossible to regulate possession and production of biological weapons" (1987: 191).[Return]

(62) See also OTA 1992: 42-3; and McGeorge, quoted in Roosevelt 1986: 42.[Return]

(63) The OTA, however, apparently does not consider this to be much of a problem, noting that "Since there will most likely be no sign of an attack for 1 or 2 days, most bacterial agents remaining in the environment will already have been inactivated or diluted. A safe approach is use of soap and water and a change of clothing after an attack has been documented" (1992: 43).[Return]

(64) Mullen, however, cautions: "the organophosphates....would appear to possess, on a weight-for-weight basis, an inherent advantage over the fluoroacetates in their capacity to cause fatalities. On balance, that is indeed the case. There are, however, so many variables associated with effective delivery of a chemical for mass destruction purposes, as to make a straightforward comparison between the potential lethalities of fluoroacetates and organophosphates a most difficult proposition" (Mullen 1978: 72).[Return]

(65) See also Mullen 1978: 70 and Kupperman and Trent 1979: 64.[Return]

(66) Compare Mullen: "The toxicity of VX by the respiratory route is estimated to be approximately 15 times that of Sarin, or about 0.001 mg/ has been stated that 6 mg applied to the skin is lethal; which makes VX about 300 times more lethal than Sarin by this route" (1978: 71).[Return]

(67) See also Kupperman and Kamen 1989: 101.[Return]

(68) Mullins also maintains that "millions of casualties could result in a single [sic] producing or using chemicals" (1992:116).[Return]

(69) See also Mengel 1976: 446. Elsewhere, Berkowitz et al. explain that "Because of delivery problems and quantities required, chemical poisons are limited to much smaller scale attacks than is the INW [illicit nuclear weapon]" (Berkowitz et al. 1972: I-12). A little later, they insist that "Under the most ideal circumstances,...effective exposure of more than a few thousand target individuals is impossible with the quantities a small threat group could handle" (Berkowitz et al. 1972: I-14 - I-15).[Return]

(70) Berkowitz et al. estimate the costs of producing Sarin as follows: "The cost of reagent grade materials—purchased in the smallest, hence most expensive quantities—for a one mole batch $6.83; this produces 0.5 mole or 70 g of Sarin. Five iterations of a 3 mole preparation would provide over a kilogram of Sarin; even at small quantity prices the materials would cost less than $100. If a laboratory were not available to the terrorist-chemist, a total investment of $600 would suffice for the necessary equipment" (Berkowitz et al. 1972: VIII-34-35). As for VX, Ponte quotes an unidentified article in Science magazine that a quart of VX "costs about $5 to manufacture and contains several million man-lethal doses" (1980: 53)![Return]

(71) See also Mullins, who notes that "As with biological agents, the ability of the terrorist to synthesize, store, and use chemical agents would be virtually undetectable by intelligence agencies and law enforcement authorities until it was too late. Very few people would have to be involved and no sophisticated facilities would be needed. Most chemical agents could be made in the kitchen or garage. Only by being unlucky would the terrorist get caught" (1992: 109).[Return]

(72) Berkowitz et al. might take issue with this particular assessment of the comparative advantages of CW agents. In discussing the preparation of BW agents, they note that "For attacks in which the material can be produced within about two weeks, simply separating the cells or spores from the culture broth by centrifugation, washing them, and resuspending them in a stabilizing medium will generally permit storage at refrigerator temperatures without significant loss of viability or virulence. For dry agents from sporulating organisms, the spores are separated from the growth medium, washed, dried by desiccation, and stored in sealed vials kept in the dark. Spore stability allows storage under these conditions for periods of months to years without loss of virulence, so small installations are sufficient to produce large quantities of these agents given enough time" (1972: VIII-76-77).[Return]

(73) In contrasting CB with nuclear attacks in regard to the provision of warning by terrorists, Berkowitz et al. note that "In a CB, anti-personnel attack, issuing a warning is counterproductive, unless the attacker's real interest lies in forcing the target group away from its normal location, either for harassment or to prevent some action from being taken. Even for these reasons, the situation would have to be highly specialized since the effects of chemical and biological agents are both temporary and subject to neutralization" (1972: IX-15). [Return]

(74) Mullins similarly maintains that "Chemical agents would be obtain or manufacture" (1992: 116).[Return]

(75) Without comparing them in this respect to nuclear or biological weapons, Thornton adds: "chemical weapons, by virtue of their use in World War I and elsewhere, enjoy a fearsome reputation. Any hint, threat, or minor use of chemicals is absolutely certain to create a huge public outcry and an immediate government reaction" (1987: 6).[Return]

(76) As Lowell Ponte puts it: "...a terrorist with a tiny vial or glass tube of VX could walk unmolested through the most elaborate systems of bomb and gun detectors at airports or elsewhere" (1977: 79).[Return]

(77) See also Jenkins and Rubin, who write that "only primitive facilities are required to carry out some threats....No technical sophistication at all is required to purchase and use these toxins" (1978: 223-4).[Return]

(78) See also Thornton: "...the ability to manufacture chemical weapons is practically a given. Rudimentary chlorine gas, of sufficient toxicity to kill, can be produced in virtually any household from cleaning solutions. Such chlorine products do, in fact, cause a number of accidental deaths in the home in this country. This same type of solution introduced into the air filtration system of an office building or military command post could have disastrous results" (1987: 6-7).[Return]

(79) According to Berkowitz et al.: "...the holder of an M.S. degree in chemistry, with organic chemistry as his specialty, has received the training necessary to comprehend and perform the operations described with no particular difficulty; and further,...anyone with aptitude for the task could train himself to carry out this process in a relatively short period of time, say 2-3 months" (Berkowitz et al. 1972: VIII-15).[Return]

(80) They go on, however, to say that "A greater threat...lies in the ease with which the more toxic OPAs can be synthesized in the laboratory" (Berkowitz et al. 1972: VIII-32).[Return]

(81) See also Griffiths: "The few pounds of these agents which might be acquired by terrorists for their illegal use is but a drop in the ocean against the amounts of CBW materials in the world now" (1992: 221). Ketcham and McGeorge similarly refer to a likely source of chemical agents for terrorists as being "leftover war materials" (1986: 31).[Return]

(82) Writing in 1990, however, Joyner expressed the view that "While the Soviet Union has certainly trained, financed, and armed certain terrorist groups over the past two decades, it seems reasonable to infer that the Soviets would be highly reluctant to hand over chemical weapons to terrorist organizations. Too much of the positive image, diplomatic good will, and international prestige that has been carefully cultivated and crafted in the era of Glasnost would be swept away with the terrorists' cloud of poison gas. Clearly, tremendous political costs would outweigh any conceivable gains of chemoterrorist complicity for the Soviets at this point" (1990: 139).[Return]

(83) Exceptions include Mullins, who maintains that "dispersal is easy and widespread" (1992: 116); Douglass and Livingstone, who also refer to the "ease of...dispersal" of chemical agents (1987: 13); Barnaby, who states that "the technology for dispersal is not difficult" (1992: 86); and Alexander, who argues that "their delivery systems are manageable, and their dispersal techniques are efficient" (1983: 229). Ponte maintains that "a pitcherful of VX tossed off the observation deck of the Empire State Building could kill half the people in Manhattan, and an even higher portion could be killed if the same amount of VX were dumped from a small private airplane into a favorable wind" (1977: 79). In Thornton's estimation: "Terrorists do not need a sophisticated delivery system to use this new type of weapon....Simply dropping a container of agent from an aircraft over a city, or even throwing the container into an embassy compound from a speeding car assures the attack will immediately take on historic proportions" (1987: 7).[Return]

(84) Similarly, Berkowitz et al. write that "these compounds have no characteristic taste or odor, so their presence in liquid or solid foodstuffs would not be evident. They are, however, hydrolyzed in water, especially under basic conditions, and would be ineffectively administered by this route unless the poisoned drink were consumed quite rapidly" (1972: VIII-40). Berkowitz et al. later discuss the possible use of psychochemicals in a water-supply attack, noting that "Both the military agent BZ and the well-known hallucinogen LSD are effective against humans in doses of a few tens of micrograms." However, they dismiss this "threat" on the grounds that "If an effective dose of LSD cost only $.25, if the reservoir-to-ingestion dilution factor were no larger than 106, and if only a thousand people were to be affected, $250 million worth of LSD would be needed. This is a rather large investment for producing a 6 to 24 hour period of bizarre and unpredictable behavior in a small community" (1972: IX-14).[Return]

(85) An almost identical calculation is reported by Mullen, with reference to a 1.8 billion-gallon reservoir serving a population of 10,000. Assuming that each person drinks a single quart of water per day, he writes: "To contaminate 10,000 quarts of water to a lethal level using 8-fluoroctanol, a fluoroacetate related to a common rodenticide that is relatively easily synthesized, highly toxic, and fairly stable in water, would require 300 metric tons of the substance. Thus, the volume of dilution in even small reservoirs drastically affects the amount of material to contaminate to such significant levels" (1987: 243, citing Berkowitz et al. 1972).[Return]

(86) See, e.g., Berkowitz et al.: "To avoid the requirement for large quantities and major delivery systems, effective chemical attacks by terrorists would probably be limited to confined groups such as the occupants of a building, passenger terminal, auditorium, banquet room, convention center, etc." (1972" VIII-40). An exception to this line of thought is Joyner, who maintains that "A primary means of attack possibly might come from disseminating a cloud of fine particles (i.e., an aerosol). Chemical weapon attacks consequently would be effective over large areas, especially since an aerosol can penetrate buildings and seek out victims indiscriminately" (1990: 136).[Return]

(87) According to Ponte: "The Army's amazing admission of this simulated assassination was reported in a tiny story on page 14 of the New York Times, March 16, 1977" (1980: 52, fn.1). As in the case of biological agents discussed earlier, the US military also tested the use of chemical agents against North American cities in the 1950s. For example, during July and August 1953, the cities of Winnipeg, St. Louis, and Minneapolis were sprayed with zinc cadmium sulphide, then considered a "harmless fluorescent powder," but which has since been linked to various cancers (Roberts 1994). Another source maintains that "In 1957 and 1958, a cargo plane criss-crossed the country releasing tons of zinc cadmium sulfide. According to one army report, 'The test covered the United States from the Rockies to the Atlantic, from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico'" (Cole 1994: 5).[Return]

(88) This is despite the assertion of Joyner that "no terrorist organization has yet demonstrated either a known proclivity or capability to use chemical weapons" (1990: 139).[Return]

(89) Livingstone simply notes that "German authorities expressed concern that Baader-Meinhof terrorists were behind the theft" (1982: 111).[Return]

(90) Joyner is another author who emphasizes this aspect, noting that "Concern about the likelihood of chemoterrorism remains intimately linked to chemical weapons and the disturbing prominence they have recently acquired. Four developments over the past decade substantiate the legitimacy for this concern. First, since 1980 states have seen fit to use chemical weapons more frequently, with impunity, in flagrant violation of international law. Second, erosion in respect for the law has been accompanied by a proliferation in chemical weapons capabilities among states, especially in politically unstable regions of the world. Third, a growing perception has arisen, particularly among developing countries, that chemical weapons possess a significant military utility—one that can supply a decisive advantage during regional conflict, as clearly demonstrated in Iraq's dominance in the outcome of the Gulf War with Iran. Fourth, the very threat to use chemical weapons has become sufficiently credible so as to be wielded to demoralize enemy forces and to instill fear in defenseless civilian populations" (1990: 135-6). Elsewhere, Joyner summarizes his concern that "an accelerated erosion of respect for international norms against the unlawful use of chemical weapons....has fostered the notion that chemical weapons are militarily, economically and psychologically useful" (1990: 142).[Return]

(91) See, for example, Post: "The barriers against mass casualties are diminishing. An act which would have attracted world attention years ago now barely gets a yawn from a jaded public, so there is a momentum arguing for 'bigger and better' terrorist events to capture attention" (1990: 167). Arguing along the same lines, McGeorge adds, rather ominously: "Circumstances suggest an evolution beyond explosives-based violence is both necessary for terrorists and perhaps currently underway" (1988: 22).[Return]

(92) Milbank believes that terrorists would not have to go even this far. In his view: "Credibility poses few problems, for a small sample of the agent delivered by mail or left at some designated pick-up point should quickly dispel any doubts on this score" (1976: 31).[Return]

(93) Luchaire apparently believes that chemical and biological weapons lack the degree of shock value of nuclear weapons. He argues that "Although other methods of mass destruction—such as the poisoning of a city's drinking water sources—are undoubtedly easier to put into operation, they would appear not to have the same psychological impact" (1984: 119).[Return]

(94) Mengel, however, contrasts CB with nuclear weapons in this regard, arguing that the former "types of new technologies offer less of an opportunity for panic. Authorities would have time to respond to chemical and biological attacks by providing avoidance guidance and countermeasure instructions" (1976: 449).[Return]

(95) Nevertheless, in their detailed study of the subject, with reference to mass destruction, Berkowitz et al. conclude "that chemical poisons represent a relatively ineffectual threat, but that the nuclear weapon and the biological pathogens constitute threats of comparable seriousness with the latter the more practicable of the two" (1972: VIII-89).[Return]

(96) Berkowitz et al. believe that, unlike the case of nuclear weapons: "Given the necessary skills and resources, one or two mentally or emotionally imbalanced individuals could mount a chemical or biological superviolent threat" (Berkowitz et al. 1972: I-6).[Return]

(97) Berkowitz et al., however, contend that "the laboratory operations involved in heroin production...are simpler, easier, and less demanding of resources than are those involved in...fluoroaliphatic compound syntheses" (1972: VIII-14).[Return]

(98) In this regard, Griffiths notes the potential availability of a "considerable number of professional scientists and engineers, formerly employed on CBW development in the former Soviet Union, who are now not required by the new states and who can consequently only command salaries which are a mere pittance." He goes on: "Clearly, some of these experts might be persuaded to assist subversive organizations, if sufficient reward is available" (221). The same could perhaps be said, to a lesser degree, of chemical and biological warfare specialists throughout the world (hopefully) being put out of business by the Biological and Toxin Weapons and Chemical Weapons Conventions. [Return]

(99) Without attempting to specify the precise level of requirements, McGeorge lists the following "factors" as having "a significant impact on a would-be adversary's capability, and therefore threat posed": "access to information; dedication/ discipline; logistics capability; number of personnel; financial strength; planning ability; gadgeteering ability; technical knowledge; load carrying ability; tactical and security ability; [and] specialized equipment access" (1994: 13).[Return]

(100) See also Hurwitz: "it appears from the available evidence that it is entirely feasible for a terrorist group of even modest resources to acquire and effectively use C/B weapons" (1982: 36).[Return]

(101) See also McGeorge 1986: 57-8. He writes: "The range of CB agents that could be supplied by a patron state includes any of the toxic industrial gases, standard chemical or biological warfare agents, and unique compounds such as colchicine or toxiferine dichloride." However, he goes on: "...the most likely candidates for in-house manufacture or patron supply are the standard nerve agents, botulin or staphylococcal enterotoxin, and anthrax. These agents have been produced in bulk, their effects are well-known and dissemination schemes abound" (1986: 60).[Return]

(102) While not discussing its feasibility, Jenkins and Rubin, writing in 1978, state simply that "Terrorists....have not interfered with water supplies" (268).[Return]

(103) For example, while noting that "gas release from pressurized cylinders...calls for the least technical skill" and hence is the most likely to be used by "Level I" capability groups, McGeorge acknowledges that "This form of delivery is not likely to be effective in open air unless massive quantities of agent are dispersed" (1986: 60).[Return]

(104) As in, for example, Douglass and Livingstone (1987), pp. 183-7.[Return]

(105) He would also apparently include "actions that just threatened use," "actions directed against CB related facilities," and "those actions which were limited to the theft, purchase or fabrication of an agent, dissemination device or related material" (1994: 12).[Return]

(106) See also Hoffman, who quotes Brian Jenkins to the effect that "Terrorists....find it unnecessary to kill many, as long as killing a few suffices for their purposes" and adds: "Terrorists have demonstrated repeatedly that their goals and objectives can be accomplished by using the same tactics and 'off-the-shelf weapons'...that they have traditionally relied upon....terrorists have yet to reach their killing potential using even 'off-the-shelf' weapons....the terrorists' traditional arsenal of the bomb and the gun still suffice to exact or win from governments the concessions that terrorists typically seek" (1993: 22-3). Lt. Gen. James Clapper, Director of the US Defense Intelligence Agency, has also listed as one of the "two reasons why there have been no [NBC] incidents so far," that "terrorist groups may feel they can achieve their objectives with conventional weapons" (Starr 1994: 10) (the other reason, in his view, being the reluctance of state sponsors to provide weapons of mass destruction). Mullen, although he may have since been overtaken by events, also maintains that "the munitions types employed by terrorists have remained somewhat static over the decades....the level of terrorist violence has remained over the years relatively static; only the frequency of incidents has increased in the past decade" (1978: 87).[Return]

(107) See also Hoffman: "There are few realistic demands that terrorists could make by threatening the use of such indiscriminate weapons....Terrorists...have generally kept their threats 'realistic' (in the sense that they can and will carry these threats out if denied their objectives) and approximately commensurate with the demands made" (1993: 23). Clutterbuck also judges that, for terrorists, NBC threats would be "far less credible and less effective as a bargaining counter" than traditional threats (1994: 53).[Return]

(108) Berkowitz et al. add that "Although extortion (the profit-motivated, criminal analogue of coercion) is not uncommon, there are very few examples of large-scale attempts at coercion of governments by conspiratorial groups" (1972: IX-9).[Return]

(109) Similarly, Harvey McGeorge produces a lengthy list of terrorist "objectives" and "goals" that could be accomplished through the use of CB agents, the former including "attention to demands, revenge, extortion, disruption, and financial gain"; and the latter encompassing "radical change to an existing system, vengeful punishment, creation of a separate homeland or state, destruction of an existing social order, change in strategic policy, and psychological satisfaction" (1986: 57). In regard to the latter "goals," McGeorge warns that "chemical or biological agents may be perceived as being significantly more able than high explosives to accomplish them" (McGeorge 1988: 20).[Return]

(110) See also Hoffman, who quotes Brian Jenkins to the effect that "simply killing a lot of people has seldom been one terrorist objective....Terrorists operate on the principle of the minimum force necessary" (1993: 23). Joyner notes that "Less than 1 percent of the thousands of terrorist incidents between 1965 and 1985 have produced more than 10 fatalities" (1990: 137).[Return]

(111) Compare the remarks of an un-named participant in a recent discussion of the subject: "[Terrorists] are afraid that for all the foregoing reasons, their operations will provoke considerable debate and dissension within the ranks of the terrorist organization itself. This would increase the risk not only of betrayal of the operation, but also betrayal of the organization" (David 1985: 153). Such reasoning may explain why, according to Hoffman, "the internal dynamics and decision-making processes of terrorist groups tend to inhibit sudden escalations or changes in either tactics or level of violence" (1993: 23).[Return]

(112) Along the same lines, they later conclude that "the technical capability for superviolence is not new; had the motive and intent existed, the event would have occurred. We believe that those who perceive a real superviolent threat must offer more than a catalogue of opportunities for trouble-making based on scientific and technical feasibility if their warnings are to be heeded" (1972: IX-57).[Return]

(113) See also Bremer: "...some terrorist groups are already showing little aversion to inflicting large numbers of casualties" (1988: 12).[Return]

(114) Elsewhere, however, Jenkins suggests the direct influence of moral considerations on terrorists when he writes that "Despite the popular view of them, terrorists, for the most part, are not wanton killers" (1975: 11)[Return].

(115) See also Buck, who writes: "The terrorist who is ideologically motivated may be unconcerned about...the type of mass destruction the use of biological, chemical, and nuclear weapons can have" (1989: 434).[Return]

(116) Similarly, Jenkins observes that "Most terrorists have operated on their own territory and have had to take some care not to totally alienate the local population. Indiscriminate violence can be dangerous, especially if you have to live among your victims" (1975: 12).[Return]

(117) Compare Mullen: "The indiscriminate effects of a mass destruction weapon would, it seems, in and of itself discourage its use for all but highly parochial and discrete targets" (1978: 88).[Return]

(118) Compare Jenkins and Rubin: "As a threat, chemical and biological weapons believed to be in the hands of terrorists would have considerable value. The actual use of such weapons might be politically counterproductive" (1978: 227; see also: Jenkins 1975: 12). Post suggests that "We broaden our concept of superterrorism to include plausible threats as well as the act itself. The constraints against mass casualties are not present against plausible threats" (1990: 168). This last statement may not be entirely true, however, insofar as it may be difficult to (or there is a limit to the extent to which one can) generate plausible threats involving acts that are not in themselves plausible. In regard to biological weapons in particular, Watkins discounts the utility of mere threats: "Although terrorists frequently attain some of their goals such as publicity or spreading fear by the mere threat of an act of violence, it seems unlikely that biological weapons could be useful to the terrorist unless actually employed. The absence of any tactical control over the effects of an attack and the simplicity of construction make it unlikely that an organization could blackmail the public simply by threat of attack since we already know most terrorist groups have both the ability to build such a weapon and the resolve to use it. It therefore seems likely that the first indication of a terrorist biological threat will be an outbreak of disease following an actual attack" (1987: 196). Berkowitz et al. would apparently disagree with this analysis, as they note that "Providing samples of stable, virulent materials and drawings or photographs of effective dissemination devices to the authorities would make such a threat highly credible" (1972: VIII-64).[Return]

(119) See, for example, Kupperman and Woolsey: "State sponsorship, coupled with the diffusion of technology worldwide, offers today's terrorist access to chemists, microbiologists, physicists and engineers" (1988: 3); and Hoffman: "State sponsorship, in particular, could provide terrorists with the incentives, capabilities, and resources they previously lacked for undertaking an ambitious operation in any of these [chemical, biological, or nuclear] domains" (1993: 24). See also Buck 1989: 434.[Return]

(120) Thornton explains further: "Most of all, these nations are concerned that an overreaction on the part of the US to a terrorist provocation could seriously jeopardize the stability of the Western alliance. They even foresee a threat to the premier position of the US as a leader and champion of world political morality and democracy" (1987: 2).[Return]

(121) See also Jenkins: "As we deal effectively with certain tactics, certain weapons, the terrorists do innovate just enough to obviate our security measures. They either switch to softer targets, or they may innovate tactically or they may innovate with weapons" (quoted in Marshall 1990: 373).[Return]

(122) A more recent exponent of this view is Clutterbuck, who writes: "Clearly we should not be complacent about nuclear, biological and chemical weapons, both because of the need to evaluate hoax calls (there have been quite a lot of these, but none credible) and because all of them would be feasible for a group which was both desperate and suicidal. But the threat is far less, and would in many ways be easier to handle because of its lack of credibility, than the terrorist actions to which we are accustomed" (1994: 53-54).[Return]

(123) Kupperman and Trent also emphasize the difficulty in attempting to predict events in this sphere: "No amount of theorizing can decided whether incidents of mass destruction will or will not occur. We tend to extrapolate easily to near safety or doom from scant data even though the social and physical processes governing longer-run terrorist tactics are highly complex and unpredictable" (1979: 52).[Return]

(124) Berkowitz et al. put it somewhat differently, concluding that "Threats of superviolence involving chemical or biological weapons are more likely than those involving nuclear weapons" (emphasis added). They also maintain that, while "the probability of an INW [illicit nuclear weapon] start is much greater than the probability of its successful completion," "the probability of successfully concluding a CB effort, given a serious start, is greater than 0.5" (Berkowitz et al. 1972: I-17 and IX-56).[Return]

(125) Another measure that does not fall neatly into any one of the above categories is the proposal by Berkowitz et al. for "legislation making conspiracy, threat to use, or actual use of nuclear devices or biological pathogens—other than with Presidential authority—a Federal offense." They go on to suggest that "provisions regarding chemical weapons depend on establishing a legal definition which excludes the poisoning of one or a few individuals" (1972: X-20).[Return]

(126) As Berkowitz et al. put it: "...the only promising method of control depends on the awareness of investigative and law enforcement agencies regarding the possibilities for superviolence. The control facilities exist; what is needed is the training and coordination that will enable them to maintain surveillance, utilize informants, and follow up potential indicators of danger" (1972: X-37).[Return]

(127) Mullins takes exception to some of these proposed measures, arguing that "some are too draconian to seriously consider. Even faced with the serious threat of NBC terrorism, the American public is not going to give up the civil liberties and freedoms gained over two centuries, as some of the solutions Douglass and Livingstone propose would require...." (1992: 116). Ponte, on the other hand, takes a more apocalyptic view, declaring: "We must either abandon the civil liberties that give terrorists freedom to travel, plan, and plot, or we must reshape our technology and society in ways that reduce our vulnerability" (1980: 54).

On a related matter (also dealing with national legislation), it was reported in August 1994 that the US Congress had passed a Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act, one section of which provides the death-penalty for those convicted of "causing death by use of weapons of mass destruction, including biological weapons and poison gas" (Chemical Weapons Convention Bulletin 1994).[Return]

(128) In a related proposal, Berkowitz et al. call for "the use of scientifically qualified, special investigators posing as potential terrorists in an effort to absorb whatever intent for superviolence may exist" (1972: X-37).[Return]

(129) Interestingly, psychological profiles of terrorist individuals likely to engage in CB activities are not to be found among the measures proposed in the open literature consulted for this report. According to Berkowitz et al.: "The number of individuals who, because of mental illness or personality make-up, might become involved in superviolence is not inconsequential. The psychiatrists and sociologists interviewed invariably feel that the intent and psychological capability underlying the threat is real and that control of the physical capability for superviolence is more effective than attempts to profile and screen potential perpetrators" (1972: I-7). For his part, McGeorge refers to "the differences between the adversaries who have or intend to employ chemical agents versus those inclined toward biological agents," maintaining that "there is a significant difference between these adversaries that may impact the approach taken in combating them." He also states that "CB terrorism may represent a significant threat and will be difficult to counter because the profile of the adversary appears to differ very significantly from the profile of adversaries who employ firearms and explosives" (1994: 13). It is unclear, however, if he is referring here to psychological profiles of individuals, or merely to the differing capabilities of groups.[Return]

(130) Mengel's proposal in this area is even more far-ranging, calling for the "establishment of specialized State, Federal, and regional units trained in high-technology terrorism countermeasures, including negotiations" (1976: 470). Further on, he calls for the creation of "Federal reaction teams" which "would offer locales a relatively timely response capability, while preserving local resources for the more important tasks of planning, negotiation, and establishing basic detection systems" (1976: 472). McGeorge calls simply for "the formation of a maximum capability national or international quick-response team patterned after the highly successful NEST in the U.S." (1986: 61).[Return]

(131) According to Mengel: "The planning process itself must be either a comprehensive multiagency effort across jurisdictional and authority lines, or a series of single-agency plans that are integrated and coordinated with all potentially involved agencies" (1976: 465).[Return]

Canadian Security Intelligence Service