The Physics of Terrorism, Counter-terrorism, and the Iraq confrontation. LBL Institute for Nuclear Astrophysics November 15, 2002. Richard A. Muller. email: [email protected] http://muller.lbl.gov. Jason Consultant 1972-2002 DoD, DoE, FBI, CIA, NSA, Army, Air Force, Navy
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The Physics of Terrorism, Counter-terrorism, and the Iraq confrontation
Institute for Nuclear Astrophysics
November 15, 2002
Richard A. Muller
email: [email protected]
Jason Consultant 1972-2002
DoD, DoE, FBI, CIA, NSA, Army, Air Force, Navy
3-4 weeks during summers, 2-4 weeks rest of year
reports on technical aspects of counter-terrorism (last 15 yr)
tracking terrorists, finding hostages, remote x-ray,
radiological weapons, nuclear power security, …
summer of 2001: UBL!!
Technical aspects of Special Operations Forces (PI)
Technical aspects of Navy Seals (PI)
Advisory team: bugging of U.S. Embassy Building in Moscow
DoD special report: Did South Africa test a nuclear weapon?
US National Academy: Technical aspects of arms control
(with Soviet Academy, including Sakharov!)
Some of my experience on US security:
September 11, 2001 - a date which will live in infamy - the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by an anonymous terrorist force that issued no demands.
They have awakened a sleeping giant and have instilled in him a terrible resolve
What explosives did they use?
How did they smuggle them on board?
My only complicated chart for the evening
Until they took over control of the planes, the hijackers had done nothing illegal.
Box cutters were allowed.
There was NO failure of airport security.
Guns weren’t necessary: pilots had instructions to cooperate.
(This policy had saved lives and airplanes in prior hijackings!)
September 11, 2001: the last hijacking of a plane in the US.
(I made this prediction on 9-11-01.)
U.S. use of fuel-air weapon in Afghanistan
15,000 lb gasoline = 7.5 tons
originally developed to create helicopter
landing area in Viet Nam jungle
equivalent to 112 tons of TNT =
1% of Hiroshima bomb
understanding the terrorist mind
What did Osama bin Laden want?
What were his goals?
What was his expected scenario?
crème de la crème? No -- l’écume de l’écume
What could terrorists still do?
Why not just install explosive detectors at every airport?
But … there is no adequate way to detect explosives!
Now: Iraq & al Qaedasimultaneously
Saddam will NOT allow inspections.
Full-scale replica of Nagasaki bomb
This was built! All it required (in 1991) was U-235.
Iraqi watch: At the time of the Gulf war, eight 1200mm units were in limited operation at Tarmiya, and preparations had begun for a second group of seventeen 1200mm separators. According to Iraq's declarations to U.N. inspectors, it managed to produce 640 grams of enriched uranium with an average enrichment of 7.2% at Tuwaitha and some 685 grams at an average enrichment of 3% at Al Tarmiya.
Diamonds and U-235
What people pay for gem quality diamonds:
$5000 per carat =
$ 12,000,000 per lb
What Saddam paid to obtain U-235 for his bomb:
$144,000,000 per lb
For the right customer, U-235 is worth
12 X the value of gem quality diamonds
Is U-235 available?
(Atom bomb requires about 20 lb)
ship remaining U-235 to Russia
Qualify for benefits of 1968 Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty
1996: Oops … they find another 450 lb
Istanbul police seize 2 lb U-235 from smugglers
Asking price: $750,000
Why so cheap?
What fraction has been intercepted?
US invasionof Iraq (50%)of Baghdad (25%)
Key technologiesof the coming war
“We own the night!”
(motto of the U.S. Special Operations Forces)
(also known as “UAV” -- unmanned air vehicles)
When the Pioneer came over Faylaka Island, near Kuwait City, the defenders heard the obnoxious sound emitted by the two cycle engine, because the air vehicle was intentionally being flown low to let the Iraqis know that they were targeted. Recognizing that with the "vulture" overhead, there would soon be more of those 2000 pound naval gunfire rounds landing on their positions with the same accuracy, the Iraqis made the right choice and, using handkerchiefs, undershirts, and bed sheets, they signaled their desire to surrender.The remote pilot called his commanding officer and asked, “Sir, they want to surrender. What should I do with them?”
Primary Function: Airborne surveillance reconnaissance and target acquisition
Contractor: General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Incorporated
Power Plant: Rotax 914 four cylinder engine producing 101 horsepower
Length: 27 feet (8.22 meters)
Height: 6.9 feet (2.1 meters)
Weight: 1,130 pounds ( 512 kilograms) empty, maximum takeoff weight 2,250 pounds (1,020 kilograms)
Wingspan: 48.7 feet (14.8 meters)
Speed: Cruise speed around 84 mph (70 knots), up to 135 mph
Range: up to 400 nautical miles (454 miles)
Ceiling: up to 25,000 feet (7,620 meters)
Fuel Capacity: 665 pounds (100 gallons)
Payload: 450 pounds (204 kilograms)
System Cost: $40 million (1997 dollars)
Inventory: Active force, 48; ANG, 0; Reserve, 0
Thursday, February 7, 2002
CIA missile said to kill suspected al Qaeda leader
WASHINGTON - A missile fired by remote control from a pilotless CIA aircraft has hit what was believed to be a group of senior al Qaeda members in southeastern Afghanistan, killing at least one of them, U.S. officials said on Wednesday.
"It was a CIA Predator missile that was fired upon what was thought to be a senior al Qaeda official," said the official, who asked not to be identified. He said the attack took place on Monday night.
"At least one was killed and possibly others. It's not clear who the individual was," the official said, adding that bad weather in the region had prevented a mission to identify bodies.
The al Qaeda leader who was killed in the attack was taller than the handful of others surrounding him, leading to some speculation about whether the United States may have hit its most wanted man in the war on terrorism -- Osama bin Laden.
Bin Laden, whose height is estimated on the FBI's most wanted terrorist list to be 6 feet 4 inches to 6 feet 6 inches (193 cm to 198 cm), is blamed by the United States for the Sept. 11 attacks on America that killed about 3,000 people.
But another U.S. official said several al Qaeda leaders were tall, including Ayman al-Zawahri, bin Laden's top lieutenant.
U.S. officials believe it was an al Qaeda leader because of the manner in which the others around him were paying homage. "You can tell from overhead that one guy's the center of attention," the official said.
"The central figure had a close encounter of the worst kind with a Hellfire missile," he said.
November 4, 2002
Terrorist killed in Yemen
Washington Nov 4, 3:07 PM (AP): US forces killed a top associate of Osama bin Laden in Yemen in a missile strike … a U.S. official said Monday. Qued Salim Siman al Harethi was one of several al Qaida members traveling by car in northwest Yemen when a Hellfire missile struck it Sunday, killing him and five others. … U.S. counter-terrorism officials have said that al Harethi, also known as Abu Ali, was al Qaida’s chief operative in Yemen … [He] is a suspect in the bombing of the destroyer USS Cole in Aden, Yemen, on Oct. 12, 2000.
“We own the night!”
isn’t what it used to be….
Global Hawk operates at ranges up to 3000 nautical miles from its launch area, with loiter capability over the target area of up to 24 hours at altitudes greater than 60,000 feet. It is capable of simultaneously carrying electro-optical (EO), infra-red (IR), and synthetic aperture radar (SAR) payloads, and is capable of both wideband satellite and Line-Of-Sight (LOS) data link communications.
Jstars can gather and display broad and detailed battlefield information as events occur, and relay it in near-real time to the Army's ground stations.
Radar includes SAR (synthetic aperture radar), wide area surveillance, moving target indicator (MTI), fixed target indicator (FTI), and target classification. The antenna has a 120-degree field of view covering nearly 19,305 square miles (50,000 square kilometers) and is capable of detecting targets at more than 250 kilometers (more than 820,000 feet).
In addition to being able to detect, locate and track large numbers of ground vehicles the radar has some capability to detect low, slow-moving airplanes, helicopters, and rotating antennas.
GA Lynx Synthetic Aperture Radar
but maybe not for the reasons you think.
massive use by Saddam of biological weapons against U. S. troops, Israel, Saudi Arabia, and his own people
That is what Saddam believes prevented
the invasion of Baghdad.
Is it true?
convince Iraqi troops and commanders to disobey their doomed leader
a little bit of Political Science …
(for which I am not credentialed)
Who will be our strongest allies in the Persian Gulf region in 2004?
Large-scale terrorism unlikely in US
Key threat comes from Iraq nuclear
Hope: Iraqis hate Saddam, will overthrow
Invasion -- mode will surprise most people
Danger: Iraqi biological weapons
viewgraphs available at http://muller.lbl.gov/TerrorismTalk.htm