Stimson in the News

Chemical and Biological Weapons Nonproliferation Project Information Sheet cited in World Mic

in Program

The news: Extremists flying the banner of the Islamic State have some serious hardware, ranging from captured Iraqi munitions to armored Humvees originally purchased by the United States. But one item recovered from an IS safehouse by moderate rebels contains instructions to create biological weapons potentially as deadly as the machine guns and suicide vests in IS’ conventional arsenal: the “laptop of doom.”

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That’s pretty terrifying, but it’s already out there. Despite the seemingly shocking revelations, everything on the so-called “laptop of doom,” is already publicly available online. A report by the Harry L. Stimson Center notes that chemical weaponry formulas have been “published and publicly available for decades,” but that actually making them would require either a well-financed, centralized operation (like the Japanese doomsday cult Aum Shinrikyo, which succeeded) or a long, complicated and dangerous process of making small amounts in secret. 

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