Nuclear Jihad


Nuclear Jihad

A Clear and Present Danger?

Todd M. Masse

360 pages


July 2011


$34.95 Add to Cart

About the Book

The most visible face of terrorism—which is embedded in the conflicts in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and the border region between the two countries—could mask an even bigger danger. In the world of counterterrorism, which includes the quiet work of intelligence gathering at home, abroad, in prisons, in mosques, and in Internet chat rooms, Western analysts are working hard to understand one of the most frightening threats, that of nuclear terrorism.

In his appraisal of this menace, Todd M. Masse explores the likelihood of an attack by examining the two major schools of thought on the subject. The conventionalists, on the one hand, tend to view the possibility of a nuclear terrorist attack as highly likely over the next five to ten years. Skeptics, on the other hand, recognize the grave consequences of a terrorist nuclear detonation but tend to discount the potential of terrorists using a nuclear fission device in the United States. Upon reviewing the terrorists’ unsuccessful history with WMD, the skeptics believe that those terrorist groups wanting to create widespread panic will revert to triedand- true “conventional” attacks, which can still inflict mass casualties.

Masse provides a much-needed objective assessment of the nuclear terrorist threat and suggests a range of policy options to address the danger. National security analysts and policymakers, military personnel, and graduate students in international relations and political science will find his work compelling.


“Todd Masse has provided a comprehensive analysis of the contentious policy issues surrounding nuclear terrorism. Thoroughly researched, rationally argued, and free of the sensationalism that mars so many books on the topic, Nuclear Jihad is the mandatory starting point for any serious inquiry.”—Brian Michael Jenkins, Rand Corporation; author of Will Terrorists Go Nuclear?

“It is rare to find a book dealing with an issue as serious as nuclear terrorism treated in as sober a manner as Nuclear Jihad. Todd Masse avoids the hyperbole and hysteria that often accompany this issue and offers a realistic assessment of the nuclear terrorist threat, as well as recommendations on how we can deal with the threat as it is—not as we imagine it. We will be successful against terrorism if we are realistic and thoughtful about the nature of the problem. Masse’s book goes a long way to help us down that path.”—Mark M. Lowenthal, former assistant director of Central Intelligence for Analysis and Production; president of the Intelligence & Security Academy

“Is nuclear terrorism the worst threat humanity faces, or is it one risk among many that can be managed with the usual policy instruments? Experts disagree. Tackling one of the most compelling policy issues of our times, Todd Masse provides us with a much-needed intellectual framework to sort through the complexities of nuclear terrorism. With a perfect balance of technical insight and policy analysis, Nuclear Jihad gives readers the tools required to make informed judgments about this vexing issue.”—Zachary Davis, Center for Global Security Research, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

“Finally, here is a thorough and thoughtful analysis of the risks of nuclear terrorism and the measures by the U.S. government and the international community to mitigate them. Todd Masse makes clear that while the world remains an unstable place and that there is still plenty of work to do to reduce risk, we shouldn’t be driven by hysteria and the Armageddon scenarios popular in pulp fiction. Thank goodness—no need to light our hair on fire just yet!”—Stan Puchalla, Nuclear Security Adviser, Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory; retired director, U.S. Department of Energy Nuclear Emergency Support Team

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