WASHINGTON (AP) -- U.S. officials uncovered rudimentary diagrams of nuclear weapons in a suspected al-Qaida safehouse in Kabul, a U.S. intelligence report says.
The discovery provides further evidence of al-Qaida's efforts to acquire such weapons to use in terrorist attacks. The unclassified report, submitted by CIA Director George Tenet to Congress and released Wednesday, says that the "diagrams, while crude, describe essential components -- uranium and high explosives -- common to nuclear weapons."
The report says terrorists aren't believed to have a functional weapon, however.
Other evidence obtained in Afghanistan shows that al-Qaida operatives have fallen for a number of scams in their attempts to acquire nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction, a senior government analyst said.
"That's good news for us," said Gary Richter, a terrorism expert with the Energy Department's Sandia National Laboratories. "It shows they really don't know what they are doing. If they knew to turn away these scam artists, it would be frightening."
Richter said he has examined several items recovered from al-Qaida caches in Afghanistan, all of which were believed to be tied to the terrorist group's attempts to develop or buy weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear devices. From them, Richter concluded that al-Qaida operatives tried to buy such weapons several times, paying cash for items that turned out to be worthless.
"They'll buy junk," he said, adding that they appear to be very naive regarding nuclear weapons.
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