WASHINGTON (AP) - If al-Qaida acquired nuclear weapons it "would have no compunction at using them," President Barack Obama said Sunday on the eve of a summit aimed at discussing ways to secure the world's nuclear stockpile.
"The single biggest threat to U.S. security, both short-term, medium-term and long-term, would be the possibility of a terrorist organization obtaining a nuclear weapon," Obama said. "This is something that could change the security landscape in this country and around the world for years to come."
"If there was ever a detonation in New York City, or London, or Johannesburg, the ramifications economically, politically and from a security perspective would be devastating," the president said.
The Nuclear Security Summit of more than 40 leaders in Washington this week is aimed at securing "loose nuclear material," Obama said. He was holding one-on-one meetings Sunday with several of those leaders.
"We know that organizations like al-Qaida are in the process of trying to secure nuclear weapons or other weapons of mass destruction, and would have no compunction at using them," Obama said.
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