During the NIS 2016 nuclear security summit, which took place in DC between March 30 and April 1 (http://nis2016.org), hundreds of CEOs and industry leaders from more than fifty countries and four international organizations, discussed preventing nuclear terrorism.
Here are the main topics:
- Securing the Use, Storage and Transport of Strategic Nuclear and Radiological Materials
- Managing the Cyber Threat
- The Role of the Nuclear Industry Globally
During my research for Trade Azerbaijan and the High-Rise Crew Trilogy, I see a trend. People who should know increasingly conflate managing cyber threats, counterterror and nuclear security. A few experts are alarmed but those who should know say weapons grade materials is not leaking to rogue states or terrorists. As far back as 1997 the experts agreed on that, as reported in the Christian Science Monitor article, Russia’s ‘Loose Nukes’ – a Myth That Distorts US Policy.
Some facts are known. It’s well documented, for example, that terrorist organizations have attempted to obtain or create WMD materials in the past. Immediately after the 9/11 attacks reporters dug deeply into the activities of Osama Bin Laden. Toby Harden, in Washington, reported in The Telegraph on December 2001, that Bin Laden had met with ‘rogue scientists’ in Kabul earlier that summer to gain information on nuclear, biological and chemical weapons.
Numerous investigative units say that ISIS is fast approaching rogue material. See: ‘AP INVESTIGATION: Nuclear black market seeks IS extremists by By DESMOND BUTLER and VADIM GHIRDA from 2015‘ as one example. This is not a one-sided quest. Not only do terrorists seek unscrupulous dealers, the black market seeks them.
If weapons can’t be found on the black market, some believe that IS will attempt to take them. This article, posted March 30, 2016, speculates that IS may be closer to obtaining nuclear weapons than we think.
The larger question, the elephant in the room, is whether nuclear materials can ultimately be contained and whether the nations in charge of their security are stable and competent. The goal of some very smart and dedicated individuals is to figure that out. See http://www.ntiindex.org/data-results/theft-data for a current global assessment.
Be sure to follow the Trade Series, beginning with Trade Bangkok then heading into nuclear territory with Trade Azerbaijan. The third novel in the High-Rise Trilogy will also be of interest but that will not be available until late in 2017 or spring of 2018.