In 1995, the Japanese cult Aum Shinrikyo unleashed terror on the Tokyo subway system with a highly publicized sarin gas attack. Until now, less was known about the group’s development of biological and chemical weapons and about their prior attacks using these weapons.
The CNAS report Aum Shinrikyo culminates a multi-year project led by Richard Danzig, former Secretary of the Navy and Chairman of the CNAS Board of Directors; with Marc Sageman, Advisor to the Deputy Chief of Staff of the Army on the Insider Threat; Terrance Leighton, Senior Staff Scientist at Children’s Hospital Oakland Research Institute and Chief Scientist at Science Applications International Corporation; Lloyd Hough, Senior Research Scientist at Battelle in International Technology Assessments; Zachary Hosford, Research Associate at CNAS; and two Japanese colleagues investigating these issues.
Through personal interviews and correspondence with former members of Aum Shinrikyo’s leadership, the authors have compiled new insights into the secretive organization. The observations from this study have wide-ranging applications for terrorist groups worldwide, which the authors discuss at the launch event on July 28, 2011.
According to Washington Post columnist, David Ignatius, "Danzig and his co-authors make the essential point: In dealing with these extremist groups and cults, the world is playing Russian roulette: 'Many chambers in the gun prove to be harmless, but some chambers are loaded.'"