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TONY Blair and George Bush are prime targets for assassins using ricin, intelligence experts warned yesterday.

And Blair is by far the more vulnerable of the two.

Security expert Professor Michael Clarke, director of the International Policy Institute, said he would be very surprised if the ricin find did not trigger a review of Blair's personal security.

But he ruled out any dramatic policy change which would throw an obvious ring of steel around Blair during public appearances.

He said: "We will not be seeing him surrounded by men in sunglasses talking into their watches, like in South America.

"The changes will be subtle. The pre-planning and security sweeping of rooms will be stepped up.

"The people who shake hands with the prime minister are bound to be vetted more thoroughly."

Mr Clarke said that Bush has more "protective filters" than Blair which shield him from personal attack.

He added: "It must be remembered that terrorists are very inefficient.

"They hope for success maybe once every five to seven years - but they only have to be lucky once."

Experts say ricin could easily be used on a single target if the terrorist had access, or was prepared to die in the attempt.

Alex Standish, editor of Jane's Intelligence Digest, said: "A determined terrorist could just wear a spiked ring and shake Mr Blair's hand across a barricade.

"Aerosol sprays are more fallible and the least likely method."
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Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Jan 9, 2003
Previous Article:THE POISON TRAIL; Cops hunt for terror cell on run with stock of deadly ricin toxin.
Next Article:WHO TO LOOK OUT FOR IN 2003 -PART TWO -.

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