Jeffrey Goldberg is insane:
in the New York Times:
On Nov. 4, Remember 9/11
THE next president must do one thing, and one thing only, if he is to be judged a success: He must prevent Al Qaeda, or a Qaeda imitator, from gaining control of a nuclear device and detonating it in America. ...
Many proliferation experts I have spoken to judge the chance of such a detonation to be as high as 50 percent in the next 10 years. I am an optimist, so I put the chance at 10 percent to 20 percent. Only technical complications prevent Al Qaeda from executing a nuclear attack today. The hard part is acquiring fissile material; an easier part is the smuggling itself ...
This is nonsense.
- Terrorists have yet to obtain chemical or biological weapons (something that should be easier).
- No state is going to give bombs to terrorists, or allow them to steal one.
- And what's this about "fissile material"? Even if some was obtained, nobody outside of a government lab would be able to make a bomb (besides the difficulty of configuring the weapon, specialized detonators and other items - like neutron reflectors - would be needed).
Goldberg takes a wild number (50% chance of detonation in 10 years) and then "optimistically" lowers it to a still-high ten percent. But the general situation vis-a-vis terrorists and nuclear states has existed for three decades at least. So why hasn't there been an explosion? Because of the reasons listed above.
How about this line from Goldberg?
Only technical complications prevent Al Qaeda from executing a nuclear attack today.
Only technical complications prevent Hugo Chavez from executing a nuclear attack today
. Only technical complications prevent Somali pirates from executing a nuclear attack today
. Only technical complications prevent the Tamil Tigers from executing a nuclear attack today
Goldberg is hysterical and peddling raw unthinking fear.
Graham Allison has been using the 50% figure for a loose nuke attack for years now, if memory serves.