News of a “laptop of terror” belonging to ISIS on Thursday and the contents obtained by U.S. reporters reveals the terrorist group’s plans to launch weapons of mass destruction.
The contents copied by Foreign Policy magazine reporters from the laptop discovered by rebel fighters in January, revealed ISIS terrorists were considering attacks on closed areas, often referred to as “soft targets” such as stadiums or shopping malls.
On Friday, United Kingdom officials raised the country’s terrorist threat level to the highest level, indicating it is “highly likely” that an attack is imminent. In July 2005, al-Qaeda suicide bombers carried out back to back attacks — weeks apart on London’s transportation system
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security said there is no evidence or specific threat by ISIS to America, however, additional security will be in place for the Labor Day weekend.
Terrorist groups routinely distribute documents such as training manuals or handbooks to members and supporters which include a mission statement and organizational goals. The al-Qaeda handbook contains the group’s ideology and lists goals and a number of suggestions for carrying out Jihad. .The Al Qaeda handbook or “manual” states in part, the organizations mission statement:
“to blast and destroy places of amusement and immorality”, or “vital economic centers” where large crowds gather.using explosives devices, biological or chemical weapons and suicide bombers.
Evidence from the “laptop of doom” suggests that ISIS is interested in obtaining chemical, biological, and radio-logical weapons, sparking much debate among U.S. officials, scholars and terrorism experts as to whether ISIS poses a bigger threat than al Qaeda, and if ISIS has the expertise and capability to launch a WMD attack.
U.S. officials said the documents on building biological weapons does not necessarily mean ISIS has the actual capability to use them. The laptop contains over 5,000 files of the group’s wish list. An unnamed U.S. official said the files on the laptop offer some of the most precise information to date on the Islamic State’s WMD aspirations. The information indicates that the Islamic State likely now has the ability to build at least some form of biological or chemical weapon, the official said.
Following the death of Osama bin Laden in 2011, many top terrorism experts questioned al-Qaeda’s capability of launching any large scale attack against the United States, many security experts said al-Qaeda posed little to no threat to national security–and they were wrong.
International terrorism experts and U.S. Department of Homeland Security officials seemed caught off guard in 2010, when an al-Qaeda branch in Yemen emerged with technically-savvy bomb-making technicians.
Terrorism experts say highly skilled bomb makers and technology savvy innovators made the Yemen branch the largest threat to U.S. security –that was until ISIS or ISIL again seemingly caught the U.S. government off guard.