No details on exactly what was found or where but that’s just fine. Those details really don’t need to be circulating in the media anyway. The news is somewhat encouraging in that the NTC appears to be cooperating closely with the U.S., the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, and others to get this material out of country.
What remains troubling though is the shear magnitude of this problem. Former Secretery of Defense Donald Rumsfeld’s famous quote comes to mind:
“There are known knowns. These are things we know that we know. There are known unknowns. That is to say, there are things that we know we don’t know. But there are also unknown unknowns. There are things we don’t know we don’t know.”
Weapons proliferation in Libya is all about the “unkown unknowns”. We may have some idea of what is floating around out there, or where it is stored, but in this environment that is not sufficient. Actors of questionable intent continue to roam a country with little official infrastructure in place to secure stored weapons. One lucky find, or succcessful smuggling operation, is all that’s needed to trigger a very serious problem in North Africa or even Europe. Covert attempts to secure weapons and limit smuggling are underway on a scale that I think will prove to be quite large but only time will tell if we’ve done enough.
Recommended on Twitter: @opcw. Official twitter account of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.