New information has come to light that the Al-Qaeda affiliate in Yemen, where the government is practically non-existent, has been attempting to hoard large amounts of castor beans, a necessary ingredient in the production of ricin, a white, powdery poison whose lethality is so pronounced that a mere speck inhaled or entering the bloodstream is enough to kill.
Evidence collected by intelligence officials suggests that Al-Qaeda operatives are trying to transport castor beans and other processing agents to a secret location in an insurgent-controlled Yemeni tribal area. There, it is believed, terrorists are trying to manufacture the toxin, pack it in with small explosives, and then set off dispersion bombs in confined spaces.
But there's no call for alarm at the present moment, as no signs of an imminent ricin attack are present. But American officials believe that Al-Qaeda in Yemen now poses the most serious threat to the U.S., more than a decade after the bombing of the USS Cole, especially after the printer-cartridge and underwear-bombing plots. Yemeni terrorists appear to have never met a bombing method they didn't like. According to Saudi intelligence officials, operatives were even trying to put ricin in perfume bottles to send to government officials and law enforcement and military officers, which smacks of an old Castro assassination attempt.
Ironically, the success in taking out Osama bin Laden along with the drone strikes in Pakistan is making Yemen more dangerous, as terrorists flee to that country. The C.I.A. is currently building a base in the region from which to operate, and airstrikes in Yemen resumed in May.