Al-Qaeda Trying to Make Ricin Bombs for US Attacks Yemen affiliate said to be loading up on castor beans to make the toxin By John Johnson, Newser Staff Posted Aug 13, 2011 11:36 AM CDT 9 comments Comments A file photo of castor beans, a basic ingredient for ricin. (Getty Images) (Newser) – Osama bin Laden is gone and the main branch of al-Qaeda might be reeling, but its affiliates remain bent on attacking the US, reports the New York Times. Citing classified intelligence reports, it says the Yemen branch known as al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula is hoarding castor beans to turn into ricin, a toxin lethal even in tiny amounts. It's a relatively low-tech process, and the intelligence reports suggest that al-Qaeda is trying to move large amounts of the beans to remote Yemen for processing. The idea is to pack the ricin into small explosives for use in US malls, airports, and the like. Security officials, however, say the grand plan is for now closer to theory than reality.