Al-Qaida May Use Mexico to Smuggle Nukes
NewsMax Wires
Monday, Nov. 15, 2004
Law officers on both sides of the borders are on edge as Mexico is named as the preferred al-Qaida route to launch a WMD attack on the American homeland, according to a report in Time magazine.

Two weeks ago a crop-duster aircraft was stolen south of San Diego by three men from southern Mexico who assaulted a watchman and then flew off in a southerly direction. The still-missing plane can be used to disperse toxic substances and is just one episode that has captured the attention of officials.

Sharif al-Masri, an Egyptian who was captured in late August near Pakistan's border with Iran and Afghanistan, has told his interrogators that al-Qaida has considered plans to "smuggle nuclear materials to Mexico, then operatives would carry material into the U.S," according to the Time report.

The Masri intelligence is contained in a report circulating among U.S. government officials. Parts of the report were read to Time.

Masri revealed that his family is now in Iran, seeking refuge from al-Qaida hunters.

Whether prompted by the Masri revelations or not, Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge has been conferring with Mexican officials, reportedly discussing last week border security and smuggling rings that could be used to slip al-Qaida operatives into the U.S.

Weeks before Ridge's visit, U.S. and Mexican intelligence reportedly conferred about reports from yet other al-Qaida detainees highlighting the potential use of Mexico as a staging area "to acquire end-stage chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear material."

According to the special Time report, U.S. officials are focusing on heavy-truck traffic across the border. Meanwhile, Mexicans authorities are keeping an eye on flight schools and aviation facilities on their side of the border.