By Jon Dougherty
(TNS) An ex-CIA agent said in an interview with The Jerusalem Post she thinks Iran not only has a stockpile of chemical weapons but that the regime could arm hard-to-detect and destroy drones with them and unleash ‘swarms’ against Israel.
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The former agent,Â Tracy Walder, told the paper that some countries and terrorist regimes may already possess chemical weapons.
She also noted that ISIS used them in recent years, and there were even claims that the Syrian government used them against rebel forces, though those claims are in dispute.
For any regional power that does not currently have chemical weapons in their arsenal, they can always try to obtain from from a ready seller: North Korea.
Walder told the Post that part of what became ISIS originated from groups run by a terrorist named Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, adding that she studied him closely while still at the Agency.
She said that he was especially interested in anthrax and ricin, while noting that deploying chemical weapons â€œis a very easy thing to do if you have access to a drone.â€
Zarqawi was very interested in â€œacquiring small-scale chemical weapons,â€ she said. â€œWe are talking about anthrax, which contains spores, [and] even ricin.â€
Now, Iran isn’t a run-of-the-mill terrorist organization, and while the country does support terrorist groups and their activities, it’s still a nation-state and as such it’s leaders cannot merely declare publicly, ‘We want to acquire chemical weapons.’
â€œYou wonâ€™t see a head of state such as from Iran [openly] say, â€˜I want to acquireâ€™ [chemical weapons], but we know Iran has been working to destabilize [the region] through proxies, the Houthis, Hezbollah. Itâ€™s less about Iran as a state, but more about Iran as a state actorâ€ which can activate proxy groups on its behalf, she said.
Iranian military leaders like the late Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Quds Force chief Qasem Soleimani, whom Trump ordered targeted January much to Democrats’ chagrin, are experts at employing proxy groups and organizations to do Iran’s bidding.
The Post noted further:
Pyongyang has stockpiled chemical weaponry and materials, and would be more than ready to sell them to any bidder, she said, adding that besides North Korea, small-scale chemical weapons and drones can all be assembled using information online.
Walder said she was particularly concerned that even the best counterterrorism efforts â€œwouldnâ€™t see any signs of alarm if [the weapons] were acquired using a piecemeal approachâ€ of purchasing low-cost and seemingly unrelated parts.
Chemical weaponry could emerge in the form of a sort of dirty bomb rather than being used directly on the battlefield, as in World War I, she said.
A new widening threat was Iranian drone swarms, and they could be modified to carry chemical weapons, Walder said.
And while she would not go into any details, Walder did say that intelligence sharing between the U.S. and Israel is very strong.