chapter  10
15 Pages

Lone actor terrorism and CBRN weapons


A persistent nightmare is the potential use by terrorists of weapons of mass destruction (WMD). Since the technical means for creating such weapons are more readily available than in the past, the argument goes that the likelihood of terrorists using such weapons is greater as well. And even if the likelihood remains slim, the apocalyptic effects of a successful masscasualty WMD attack by terrorists would be so great that the need to preempt such an attack no doubt outweighs the cost of doing so. There is a lone actor scenario here as well. The ‘super-empowered individual’ with potential to wreak unprecedented damage is a powerful image which in the past was confined to James Bond movies. Yet, he has also been a feature of academic debate for more than a decade.2