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The PJ Tatler

by
Bridget Johnson

Bio

July 10, 2014 - 7:45 am

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel indicated the administration isn’t particularly concerned with the uranium seized by ISIS terrorists in Iraq, saying the “old chemicals” aren’t weaponized.

Reuters obtained a letter written to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on July 8 from Iraq’s U.N. Ambassador Mohamed Ali Alhakim, in which the envoy asks the world body for help to “stave off the threat” of the use of the 88 pounds of uranium compounds from the University of Mosul by terrorists.

“Terrorist groups have seized control of nuclear material at the sites that came out of the control of the state,” Alhakim wrote, adding that such materials “can be used in manufacturing weapons of mass destruction.”

“These nuclear materials, despite the limited amounts mentioned, can enable terrorist groups, with the availability of the required expertise, to use it separate or in combination with other materials in its terrorist acts,” he added.

“We were aware of that facility,” Hagel told reporters on a stop at the Naval submarine base at King’s Bay, Ga. “We’ve known about it for a number of years. And I think the best way to respond to it is — it is not chemical weapons munitions.”

“They are not weaponized. They’re old chemicals from many years ago,” he continued. “So, we know where they are. We’ve known about them, we’re keeping our eye on them, but again, they’re not munitions and they’re not weaponized.”

Under questioning, Hagel acknowledged that the compounds seized by terrorists are inherently dangerous.

“Well, there are toxins. That’s right. But again, they are not munitions. They are not weaponized. And there’s no question, if you venture into that — that area, there is danger. That’s right. And there is danger for those who happen to wander in there,” the Defense secretary said.

“But they are not a threat now in — in any way as a form of a weapon.”

Bridget Johnson is a veteran journalist whose news articles and opinion columns have run in dozens of news outlets across the globe. Bridget first came to Washington to be online editor at The Hill, where she wrote The World from The Hill column on foreign policy. Previously she was an opinion writer and editorial board member at the Rocky Mountain News and nation/world news columnist at the Los Angeles Daily News. She is an NPR contributor and has contributed to USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, National Review Online, Politico and more, and has myriad television and radio credits as a commentator. Bridget is Washington Editor for PJ Media.

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Top Rated Comments   
Jeez Chuck, while uranium is technically a chemical (everything on the periodic chart is) it's not for a "chemical weapon." It's not going to be a nuclear bomb, but rather a dirty bomb. Scary that our SoD is that stupid.
15 weeks ago
15 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (8)
All Comments   (8)
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"Just old stuff" until that 'old stuff' gets packed into an IED and set off on the Washington Mall. It wouldn't, in and of itself, hurt anyone more than the explosion, but the psychological effects of trace radiation all over the Mall would be categorized as true terrorism. I understand he is trying to calm people down, but the truth is quite the opposite of what he portrays. It won't change the minds of a terrorist for sure.
15 weeks ago
15 weeks ago Link To Comment
If they're not a threat now, what would it take to weaponize them?
15 weeks ago
15 weeks ago Link To Comment
Very little.
15 weeks ago
15 weeks ago Link To Comment
"we’re keeping our eye on them"

Does he have Dan-O doing a stake-out? Maybe they've got ATM cameras across the street keeping tabs?

Can you get more blithe? Is he TRYING to prove that he's an idiot?
15 weeks ago
15 weeks ago Link To Comment
Relax.

They are going to use same technologies and procedures as they did for Fast & Furious.
15 weeks ago
15 weeks ago Link To Comment
Uranium is uranium. As long as it exists it's usable.

Oh, and Chuck Hagel, maybe you should get on the phone and offer an apology to Bush.

EDIT: By the way, if can't be used as a weapon why admit it is dangerous for the terrorists to have it?
15 weeks ago
15 weeks ago Link To Comment
Jeez Chuck, while uranium is technically a chemical (everything on the periodic chart is) it's not for a "chemical weapon." It's not going to be a nuclear bomb, but rather a dirty bomb. Scary that our SoD is that stupid.
15 weeks ago
15 weeks ago Link To Comment
Dirty bombs are stupidly easy to make.

Especially when you have people who will work on the stuff with zero protection.

15 weeks ago
15 weeks ago Link To Comment
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