August 22nd, 2011
05:38 PM ET

U.S., NATO concerned about Libya's stockpile of weapons

By Pentagon Correspondent Barbara Starr

The U.S. and NATO have been quietly talking to National Transitional Council officials for the last several weeks about securing Libya's remaining stockpiles of mustard gas and other weapons material in the event the Gadhafi regime fell, U.S. officials confirm. Topping the list of worries is Libya's stockpile of mustard gas.

"The opposition forces are being asked to keep track of what's going on" with both weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and the regime's inventory of surface-to-air missiles, a NATO official said.

"We have had direct eyes on the storage facilities" of the WMD for some time, the official said, including the use of satellites, drones and other surveillance aircraft.

The official also confirmed that intelligence personnel from the U.S. and other countries have been in Libya in recent weeks to help maintain security at various sites, although he could not confirm Western personnel are currently at those locations. "Individual nations have folks on the ground," he said.

A U.S. official also confirmed U.S. intelligence personnel have been involved in monitoring WMD stockpiles inside Libya. Both officials declined to be identified because of sensitive intelligence matters.

"We hope those items don't get out of control" of the NTC, the U.S. official said. He also noted the U.S. and NATO have told the NTC that now that it has been recognized by many countries, its personnel must conduct themselves within the realm of international law.

Congress is already underscoring the worry. "In particular, we must ensure that (Moammar) Gadhafi's stockpiles of advanced weapons, chemical weapons and explosives don't fall into the wrong hands," said Congressman Mike Rogers, R-Michigan, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee in a press statement. Rogers is also concerned about the Libyan inventory of anti tank rockets and plastic explosives.

CNN reported earlier this year that Libya still has approximately 10 tons of the deadly blister agent left in its arsenal, according to an assessment from the Arms Control Association. Much of the material has been located at the Rabta chemical weapons facility south of Tripoli.

1n 2003, Libya agreed to destroy its entire chemical weapons arsenal, which included some 25 tons of mustard gas and 3,300 empty aerial bombs. The entire stock of shells and bombs was literally crushed by bulldozers in 2004.

U.S. officials say any chemical weapons material that remains in Libya would be difficult to "weaponize" into a form that could be used to conduct attacks, and it's not clear Libyan forces would follow any orders to conduct such attacks.

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Filed under: drones • Gadhafi • Intelligence • Libya • Military • NATO
soundoff (30 Responses)
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    September 7, 2011 at 10:08 pm | Reply
  3. brown

    hahaha! You can thank your elected leaders ... the mustard gas is coming to a city near you!

    August 25, 2011 at 9:51 pm | Reply
  4. KakaJ

    I thought you fellas were all out supporting the guys you can trust! I thought all along these "democratic forces" who have of late evolved into "rebels" of yours were very understanding, and mean no harm to you. Now you are beginning to get worried? I can bet, you will worry the more sooner than later. Let the dust settle down first, and you will see what am talking about. US, NATO and the long-nosed allies will always remain enemy No. 1 of the Arabs. In fact, to me, Gadaffi may have been more of a liberal than the 'rebels' you are touting. CNN keep us posted!

    August 25, 2011 at 7:11 am | Reply
  5. Paul Willson

    This is not6 a matter fopr anyone but Libya to be concerned with. Or does freedom come with new colonial masters ?

    August 25, 2011 at 12:26 am | Reply
  6. SofGangsta

    Might not be a bad idea to send some of those tomahawks to those weapons sights right now to destroy them before anybody can grab them. Expecting the NTC to secure them is silly.

    August 24, 2011 at 2:57 am | Reply
    • ranger 830

      Roger that Gangsta..... hard enough to get them to aim their weapon while firing.I think the NTC has taken more casualties from celebratory fire than from pro gadhafi forces LOL....Cant expact them to properly secure WMD,s now can we? Not to mention the corrupt nature of our good Muslim brothers! Allah Akbar any thing for a dollar!!!!!!!!!

      August 25, 2011 at 9:26 am | Reply
  7. informationizpower

    Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. The media always greases the wheels of the war machine, before an invasion. Wake up people, the same people the u.s. is funding right now are the same people the u.s. was fighting in Iraq. al Qaeda. So, the only answer is Hell NO, WE Wont GO!

    August 24, 2011 at 1:34 am | Reply
  8. Raffy Canlas

    May there be peace and prosperity soon in Libya.

    August 24, 2011 at 1:16 am | Reply
  9. Not An American Problem

    Fear mongering.

    August 23, 2011 at 10:53 pm | Reply
    • HAnk

      Tell that to the Israelis, Lily.

      August 23, 2011 at 11:45 pm | Reply
  10. Iscandril

    "would be difficult to "weaponize" into a form that could be used to conduct attacks, and it's not clear Libyan forces would follow any orders to conduct such attacks.", ever heard such garbage, specially regarding the highly praised so called ingenious rebels:code for terrorists, who could turn toilet pipes into high precision rocket launchers.
    Strange impression is that sooner or later a Western city will sniff something strange in the air. Lets hope Hammas haven't acquired 2 grams of that stuff or the middle east will regret the arab springing.

    August 23, 2011 at 10:02 pm | Reply
  11. B0zer

    Nooooooo. These WMDs are in good hands. Specially in the short of cash rebels' hand.

    August 23, 2011 at 9:53 pm | Reply
  12. wilbur

    No matter the United States. Say what you want in your house. You have no choice but to support what our nation does. We simply do not have a choice. It is better by far to accept it personally and let time sort it out. Never, never question what the government is doing unless you are willing to change it.

    August 23, 2011 at 9:29 pm | Reply
  13. wilbur

    Take 3 seconds to g oogle a map of Libya. Wiki it. There are about 7 million people in a handful of cities on the coast. Look at Reuters news...Britain and US have already placed bases in the empty desert. Look up Wheelus Airbase on Wiki. Look up China Oil Contracts in Africa and challenge to dollar denomination of oil. See where Libya is. See that US has owned it since WWII. This is from recent and past news/history. It is not made up.

    August 23, 2011 at 9:25 pm | Reply
  14. mejazzbo

    I'm more concerned about the threats hostile muslim websites are making against our David Letterman.

    August 23, 2011 at 7:34 pm | Reply
  15. Blackwingedbeing

    Who are the sources Ms. Starr? Do you even know? This is another scare article brought to you by the US Government to show that we must go in there and secure the weapons. Bullshit. "We hope those items don't get out of control" of the NTC, the U.S. official said. then why would he be concerned if he later said,"U.S. officials say any chemical weapons material that remains in Libya would be difficult to "weaponize" into a form that could be used to conduct attacks....." All bullshit
    The World bank and the IMF should stay out of Libya. They destroy nations with debt and oil contracts that pay the wealthy and screw the poor.

    August 23, 2011 at 6:21 pm | Reply
  16. Rosslaw

    Not a single American killed or captured, an estimated $1.1 billion spent for the entire US end of the task when Afghanistan costs $3B a week and looking at an old fashioned victory where the enemy gives up and stops shooting. Needless to say, all and all a terrible tragedy from the perspective of our right-wingnuts who were for Obama's efforts to overthrow this psychotic before they were against it.

    August 23, 2011 at 4:16 pm | Reply
    • dewd

      Whatever. He still violated the Constitution and War Powers Resolution since Congress did not authorize this.

      August 23, 2011 at 5:57 pm | Reply
    • blockaid1

      We are not at war with Afghanistan,, we are nation building,, Dont count your chickens in Libia, what makes you think we wont be nation building there. Remember the Dems actually voted for the Afghanistan war with Bush, but let's not talk about that,,

      August 23, 2011 at 7:25 pm | Reply
  17. JoePub

    I thought that looking for WMD's was a no no for us? Why can't we just take the word of the leader like we were supposed to do with Sadam?

    August 23, 2011 at 3:09 pm | Reply
  18. Albert

    "...we must ensure that (Moammar) Gadhafi's stockpiles of advanced weapons, chemical weapons and explosives don't fall into the wrong hands"

    "Wrong hands" is apparently quite a relative term.

    August 23, 2011 at 2:15 pm | Reply
  19. t post

    See we should invaded Libyia instead of Iraq

    August 23, 2011 at 1:34 pm | Reply
    • RYCKY

      US went to iraq looking for something else besides, WMD....think

      August 23, 2011 at 2:16 pm | Reply
      • Jason K

        So THAT's where the Iraq WMDs were... in Libya!!! ::kneeslapper:: shucks

        August 23, 2011 at 4:23 pm |
  20. 11:11

    So that's where those pesky WMD's we were looking for disappeared to...

    August 23, 2011 at 12:46 pm | Reply
  21. heyheyhey

    Don't worry. Let them keep all the weapons, not like giving guns to muslims ever did anything to the US

    August 23, 2011 at 12:04 pm | Reply
    • Jason K

      Yeah, they can keep the guns, just get rid of the household ingrediants they make bombs out of. They're pretty harmless with the guns though. They mainly use bombs because their beards and turbans obscure their accuracy.

      August 23, 2011 at 4:22 pm | Reply
  22. RM

    I wish the Libyan people all the best, progress, peace and much development. They deserve all the good things in life. God speed.

    August 23, 2011 at 12:03 pm | Reply
  23. ralk

    I haven't been worried about anything in Lybia.

    August 23, 2011 at 11:19 am | Reply

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