The U.S. Central Intelligence Agency says al-Qaida is fully capable of building and detonating a radioactive dirty bomb in the United States and other Western nations.
In its annual report on proliferation threats released to lawmakers Tuesday, the CIA said al-Qaida's stated desire to carry out attacks using chemical, biological or nuclear materials is one of the agency's highest concerns.
The CIA said any attack would probably be on a small scale, using improvised delivery devices and easily obtainable toxins or radiological substances. It warned that multiple, simultaneous attacks could kill hundreds of people and cause widespread panic.
The report also says the CIA remains convinced Iran is pursuing a clandestine nuclear weapons program, and North Korea may have a nuclear-capable missile able to reach the United States.