David Kay, as everyone knows, has concluded that there are probably no “large stockpiles” of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. As we noted last week, this fact has obvious significance, but at the same time, when we’re talking about biological and chemical weapons, “small” stockpiles can be very significant. This was brought home again by the arrival of an envelope containing ricin, a specialty of Iraq’s Ansar al Islam, in the Senate Office Building.
Now this: Coalition forces have identified and raided the “safe house” of Abu Musab Zarqawi, the al Qaeda terrorist who is a key link between that organization and Saddam Hussein’s Iraq. The house, in Baghdad, was found to contain a seven-pound block of cyanide salt:
Cyanide salts are extremely toxic. According to the U.S. Department of Energy’s Ames Laboratory, exposure to even a small amount through contact or inhalation can cause immediate death…U.S. officials, who said they were getting new intelligence in the hunt for Zarqawi, also believe he had been attempting to produce large quantities of the toxin ricin in northern Iraq.
The tantalizing question, of course, is whether Zarqawi may already have been captured. Obviously, news of the capture of an important terrorist is always delayed so that any intelligence gained can be acted upon. Picking up Zarqawi–along with his stash of biological weapons–would be a hugh coup.