1 November 2011

Fatwas for fission: Assessing the terrorist threat to Pakistan’s nuclear assets

Charles P. Blair

Charles P. Blair is a Washington, DC-based university instructor, researcher, and writer specializing in terrorism and the history, technical underpinnings, and potential futures of weapons of...

Pakistan’s nuclear assets may be tempting targets for terrorists. Experts are split, however, on the actual threat posed. Some assert that Pakistan’s nuclear assets are on the verge of seizure by terrorists, while others contend that the risk is minimal at best. Because neither side develops robust or holistic threat assessments, however, American decision makers, who wisely include open sources when evaluating possible threats emanating from Pakistan’s nuclear infrastructure, are not adequately informed. Thus, the author maintains that the real threat assessment is yet to be made—one that goes beyond merely considering assumed terrorist capability and putative vulnerabilities.