WASHINGTON (CNN) – Vice President-elect Joe Biden and Secretary of Homeland Security-designate Janet Napolitano received a bi-partisan commission briefing Wednesday on potential attacks involving weapons of mass destruction. The commission’s chairman, former Democratic Sen. Bob Graham, didn’t mince words when he told the two members of the incoming administration that “it is more likely than not that between now and the year 2013 there will be a weapon of mass destruction used someplace in the world.”
After reviewing the 'World at Risk' report from the Commission on the Prevention of Weapons of Mass Destruction Proliferation and Terrorism, Biden said that the government is not doing all it can to prevent a possible WMD attack.
“The answer that jumps out very starkly is no, we’re not doing all we can or should. And we’re not doing all we can to prevent the world’s most lethal weapons from winding up in the hands of terrorists,” said Biden. “But this report is, in my view, more than a warning about what we’re doing wrong, it’s a pragmatic blueprint how to get it right...”
Graham and Sen. Jim Talent led the bi-partisan commission that was established by Congress as a recommendation of the 9/11 Commission. Talent focused his comments Wednesday on steps they believe the government needs to take, including regulating work on biological pathogens and Pakistan’s nuclear elements because the country is “the nexus of all these threats right now and it’s deteriorating.”
Talent joked that he and Graham flipped a coin to see who would deliver the bad news, a duty that clearly fell to Graham as he told Biden, Napolitano and his fellow members of the Commission that terrorist groups are progressing, are more nimble and the ease of acquiring a biological weapon has increased.
“This leads us to the conclusion, one, that we have been losing ground and we are less secure today that we have been in the recent past,” said Graham. “Number two, that the threat is that it is more likely than not that between now and the year 2013 there will be a weapon of mass destruction used someplace in the world. And third, that it is more likely that that weapon will be biological than nuclear.”
Gov. Napolitano kept her remarks brief but reiterated that “the threat, whether nuclear, biological, chemical, radiological is a very real one indeed.” The Arizona governor said she would act on the commission’s recommendations in the Department of Homeland Security “with the urgency called for by the nature of the threat that confronts us.”
After the foursome made their introductory remarks to the press, reporters were ushered out so the group could continue to discuss the commission’s findings in private. Asked by CNN if his role in the administration had been clearly defined, Biden ignored the question.