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Chemical Weapons: A Summary Report of Characteristics and Effects

Chemical Weapons: A Summary Report of Characteristics and Effects, Dana A. Shea – Specialist in Science and Technology Policy. December 13, 2012

  • “Civilian protection from and detection of chemical agents is an area of federal concern. Whether terrorist groups are capable of using chemical agents as weapons of mass destruction is unclear. Some experts have asserted that the volumes of chemicals required to cause mass casualties makes that scenario unlikely. They claim that chemical terrorism is more likely to be small in scale. Other experts have suggested that there has been an increase in terrorist interest regarding chemical agents, and that this interest could lead to their use in terrorist attacks. Some experts assert that insecure stockpiles of military-grade chemical agents would lower the barrier to terrorist acquisition of chemical agents and thus increase the possibility that terrorists might use them. The change of regimes in Libya and Egypt and recent events in Syria have increased concern that such military-grade chemical agents might transition into terrorist hands and then be used to attack U.S. sites either domestically or abroad.”
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