WASHINGTON ~ Vice president-elect Joe Biden has warned more must be done to thwart the threat of terrorism with weapons of mass destruction, after a report warned such an attack was likely within five years.
Members of the congressionally mandated panel which produced the report warning of assaults with nuclear or biological weapons, briefed Biden, and Barack Obama’s nominee for Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano.
Biden said the Commission on the Prevention of Weapons of Mass Destruction Proliferation and Terrorism had been asked by Congress to ask whether enough was being done on the hot-button issue.
“The answer that jumps out very starkly is no. We are not doing all we can or should,” Biden said on Wednesday.
“We’re not doing all we can to prevent the world’s most lethal weapons from winding up in the hands of terrorists.
“This report is more than a warning about what we are doing wrong. It’s a pragmatic blueprint for how to get it right,” he said.
Napolitano added that the threat of an attack on US soil could be “dramatically reduced through a coherent and sustained strategy to improve our vulnerabilities and to adapt to a new and evolving threat.
“We will act, in the words of the commission, with the urgency called for by the nature of the threat that confronts us.”
The report said terrorists are likely to stage a nuclear or biological weapons attack somewhere in the world in the next five years and singled out Pakistan as the weakest link in world security.
Without urgent action, “it is more likely than not that a weapon of mass destruction will be used in a terrorist attack somewhere in the world by the end of 2013,” the commission said.
“America’s margin of safety is shrinking,” it said.
President George W. Bush earlier met all nine members of the bipartisan panel and aides said he was working with Obama’s transition team to improve US counter-terrorism efforts.
The report, “World at Risk,” urges the creation of a new post in the White House that would focus solely on overseeing government efforts to prevent an attack with weapons of mass destruction.