Anti-terrorist official sees cyanide threat

Anti-terrorist official sees cyanide threat

By Joe Baker

By Joe Baker

Senior Editor

France’s top anti-terrorism official warns the U.S. is facing a deadly threat from terrorists operating undetected in this country.

In an interview published in The New York Times, Jean-Louis Bruguiere, the man who caught and jailed Carlos the Jackal, told a French journalist that well-concealed terrorist cells in the U.S. could easily poison water supplies with cyanide. (

Bruguiere said neither destroying the Taliban nor capturing Osama bin Laden would end the terrorist threat. Newer terrorist networks, he said, are not like the old ones which were more loosely organized, but had an identifiable leadership and command structure.

“I am very anxious,” he told The Times. “There are many autonomous cells in Europe and North America we do not know about. They do not need orders from Osama bin Laden to carry out the Jihad. They finance their own operations with credit card fraud and theft. The threat, even with Osama bin Laden gone, is very high.”

Bruguiere said these newer terrorist groups alter their organization often. He said the way they carry out one operation is different than the way they perform a subsequent operation.

Many, he said, are associated with a group called the Takfiris, which is very integrated into European and American societies. He described the Takfiris as “a radical sect that traces its origins back to Egypt in the 1960s. Fiercely devoted to destroying those they see as the enemies of Islam, they are willing to adopt local customs to blend in with foreigners.”

Bruguiere said the movement is “the most dangerous because it rejects the authenticity of even other Islamic groups and thinks it alone knows the truth.”

He said intelligence agencies know that terrorists were trained in Afghanistan in using biological and chemical weapons. Bruguiere said officials have seen evidence of planning for poisoning water supplies, including the use of cyanide. He said it would be quite easy and very difficult to prevent.

The Times said Bruguiere hunted down Venezuelan terrorist Ilich Ramirez Sanchez, known as Carlos the Jackal, in 1994 in Sudan. Sanchez was given a life sentence in prison by a French court.

The Times credits Bruguiere as one of the world’s most effective and well-informed anti-terrorism officials, with scores of arrests and convictions to his credit.

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