Remember the Mubtakkar, the deadly "invention" al Qaeda allegedly
planned to use to kill hundreds of people on New York subways?
Turns out, it may not have been so dangerous after all, according
to some experts:
The book, "The One Percent Doctrine," by Pulitzer Prize winner Ron Suskind, says that designs for the device were found in February 2003 on a computer seized in Saudi Arabia after the arrest of a jihadist there, and that, a month later, U.S. intelligence separately uncovered an aborted plot to use several of them in an attack on the New York subway system.
"In the world of terrorist weaponry, it was the equivalent of splitting the atom. Obtain a few widely available chemicals and you could construct it with a trip to Home Depot and then kill everyone in the store." wrote Suskind.
"That is the stupidest statement I have heard in many years," Leitenberg said, adding that the concentrations at which the key chemicals were present in household materials were so low "you would get next to nothing" by using them.
"You would have to obtain the ingredients from a chemical supplier" or steal them from a laboratory to make the device work, he said.
One counter-terrorist official said simply, "If this is such an amazing weapon, and the design for it is out there, why has no one ever used it?"