December 3rd, 2008
04:10 PM ET
10 years ago

Biden told WMD attack 'more than likely' before 2013

Biden was told Wednesday that a WMD attack is ‘more than likely’ somewhere in the world before 2013.

Biden was told Wednesday that a WMD attack is ‘more than likely’ somewhere in the world before 2013.

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.

Filed under: Joe Biden
soundoff (44 Responses)
  1. Ryan - Reality, MI

    I'm sure this information really came when Biden met with Cheney.

    December 3, 2008 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  2. Mari

    Oh boy........ more doomsday!! The sky is falling! The sky is falling!! Please!

    We can live in endless fear, or we can choose to see the World through the eyes of faith, hope, love and peace.

    Trouble, war, illness, famine, disasters, attacks of all kinds, will go on until the end of tim...... WHY waste ONE PRECIOUS DAY LIVING IN FEAR?

    IF we live in fear...... the terrorists have already won!

    December 3, 2008 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  3. Desert Storm Vet

    Well at least we know it won't come from Iraq. Everyone Knows Sadaam didn't have any WMDs and if you don't believe me ask a Kurd.

    The good news is that it will not be America that is attacked because by that time the love for America will be flowing once again.

    December 3, 2008 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  4. El Perro Loco

    Hmmm...and if a Republican had said these things, the left would be screaming about "fear mongering".

    December 3, 2008 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  5. boered1


    the key is "somewhere in the world" umm since there are hundreds of terrorist attacks world wide already to think that theywill NOT attack "somewhere in the world" with the largest weapons they can get their hands on in the next 5 years is ludicris...

    maybe if we had spent some of the money we used on invading and occupying a country for no reason on detection and training to stop these types of attacks they would not be such a problem. Or maybe we could have worked to defuse the hatred insteaqd of increasing it in the last 7 years.. nahh that would have taken diplomacy and intelligence

    December 3, 2008 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  6. Marie banderas

    iF i WASNT AFRAID BEFORE, i sure am NOW !!!!
    Oh Please GOD, protect us when our leaders can NOT

    December 3, 2008 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  7. MsRotten

    And there is a specific year of 2013 because???? Is the US Government going to let loose another WMD (like AIDS) again before 2013??

    December 3, 2008 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  8. John G

    How exactly does this get second billing to the Bill Richardson Beard article?

    December 3, 2008 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  9. Willy Brown

    Oh now you bring up WMD's

    December 3, 2008 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |

    WHO'S BIDEN????


    December 3, 2008 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  11. ck

    Well, at least Biden now knows that his party's stalling and putting up road block after road block to stop terrorism has come home to roost.

    They loved making fun of Bush, they loved putting him down for their own gain, and now we reap what they have sown.

    Change is coming alright, but not the kind anyone wants.

    December 3, 2008 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  12. Does Janet Napolitano make you feel safe??

    She's Sec. of Homeland Security but what does she know about either preventing terrorist attacks or responding to them???


    We're in big trouble. Buy your armored car now to drive your family around and get a flak jacket for yourself.

    December 3, 2008 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  13. Me

    It's great to hear that Bush accomplished so much in his disastrous 8 year reign.

    December 3, 2008 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  14. roger

    I can only hope that when Obama speaks to our enemies and tells them if we are attacked that we will hold the whole Muslim world responsible and will deal with the entire Muslim world with the capabilities of the United States military.

    December 3, 2008 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  15. Nick

    Because news of an attack by 2013 was mentioned yesterday. The beard was mentioned today.

    December 3, 2008 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  16. Sarge in Florida

    It is just a matter of time before a rogue terrorist groups get their hands on these weapons. Most likely be furnished by a rogue country that hates us...So sad that it MAY happen on Obama' watch and this will give the GOP more hateful comments against the Dem's. Just remember this report has come out under the BUSH administration...


    December 3, 2008 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  17. Jeremy

    Because it's cnn, and if they say beards are more important then terrorism, then thats the way it is!

    December 3, 2008 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  18. no bailouts

    instead of bailing out these selfish ceos, we should put money in ways to protect our precious country from the people that want to kill us.

    December 3, 2008 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  19. American Citizen

    This article was posted before the beard by one minute.

    December 3, 2008 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  20. Josh

    I don't think in this war anybody will win nor benefit. We'll hunt them down and kill them ( don't forget the colateral damage) and they will hide in their cages till they come up with some plan and hit us where the least we expect them and.... the war continues.

    I just hope Obama and his team will find a better way handling this than the previous admin. We can always win the battle but we will never win the war cause the war never ends.

    God help us.


    December 3, 2008 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  21. Milhouse van Houten

    "as a recommendation of the 9/11 Commission?"I don't think those involved in that contradiction filled fallacy should be advising anybody,
    but prudence should be the order of the day.

    December 3, 2008 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  22. Houston

    Here we go again...

    December 3, 2008 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  23. JIM

    i thought the age of bush fear mongering was finally over. let's all grow some cajones and stand up straight and run our nation without being terrified, paranoid, and afraid. grow some balls america.

    December 3, 2008 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  24. Mike, Syracuse NY

    And with her open boarder policies, Napolitano will just make it easier for someone to deliver a WMD to the US. Letting her be in charge of HLS is like letting a drug addict run a pharmacy.

    December 3, 2008 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  25. Tom in NM

    The beard is a WMD

    December 3, 2008 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
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