Bioterrorism: It’s only a question of time. Silke, A. (1999, 18 October). Bioterrorism: It’s only a question of time. The Times, pp.37,41.

Research output: Contribution to non-peer-reviewed publicationNewspaper article


For terrorists, nuclear, chemical and biological weapons are currently too expensive and too dangerous for all but the richest groups to contemplate using effectively. The American authorities argue that Aum has given terrorist groups a model of the impact superterrorism can have. That is true. But Aum has also shown the other groups just how expensive and difficult those weapons of mass destruction are to acquire, and even more importantly, has underlined how incredibly difficult it is to actually use such weapons. 85% of Aum’s attacks killed or injured no-one apart from group members. That is the pragmatic lesson most terrorist groups will observe. They will however also note the massive media attention surrounding the attacks and that will act as a permanent incentive for some groups to consider the possibility of similar acts of superterrorism. Will we see more terrorist attacks using such weapons? The answer is almost certainly yes. Inevitably, at some stage, terrorist groups will be able to efficiently produce and deploy weapons of mass destruction. Aum was able to produce the weapons but could not work out how to use them effectively. Other terrorist groups will learn from that mistake. It is just a question of when.
Original languageEnglish
Pages37, 41
Number of pages2
Specialist publicationThe Times
Publication statusPublished - 18 Oct 1999


  • bioterrorism
  • CBRN terrorism
  • Aum Shinrikyo
  • WMD terrorism

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