CIA Cover-Up Thwarted FBI’s Nuclear Diversion Investigations
Evidence that missing uranium went to Israel withheld since 1968
by Grant Smith, September 07, 2015
According to formerly top-secret and secret Central Intelligence Agency files (PDF) released August 31 in response to a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit (PDF), the agency’s long retention of key information ultimately stymied two FBI investigations into the 1960s diversion of weapons-grade uranium from a Pennsylvania-based government contractor into the Israeli nuclear weapons program.
The Nuclear Materials and Equipment Corporation (NUMEC) was a nuclear fuel processing company founded by legendary chemist Zalman Mordecai Shapiro and financed by entrepreneur David Luzer Lowenthal. According to the Department of Energy, during Shapiro’s reign at NUMEC, the company lost more weapons-grade uranium – 337 kilograms after accounting for losses – much of a particularly unique and high enrichment level than any other U.S. facility. Losses only returned to industry norms after Shapiro, who later unsuccessfully tried to get a job working on advanced hydrogen bomb designs, was forced out of NUMEC.
In the 1950’s Shapiro developed vital breakthroughs for US Navy nuclear propulsion systems. In the 1940s Lowenthal fought in Israel’s War of Independence, serving as a smuggler who developed close contacts with high Israeli intelligence officials. An ardent supporter of Israel, Shapiro was Pittsburgh Chapter President of the Zionist Organization of America. According to the Jerusalem Post, Shapiro later joined the board of governors of the Israeli Intelligence Heritage Center, an organization that honors spies who secretly took action to advance Israel. NUMEC holding company Apollo Industries President Morton Chatkin also held a ZOA leadership role while Apollo Executive Vice President Ivan J. Novick went on to become ZOA’s national president. David Lowenthal, who raised capital for acquiring NUMEC’s facilities (an old steel mill in the center of the village) served as Apollo’s treasurer.
In 1968 CIA Director Richard Helms sent an urgent request for an investigation to Attorney General Ramsey Clark (PDF) stating "You are well aware of the great concern which exists at the highest levels of this Government with regard to the proliferation of nuclear weapons…It is critical for us to establish whether or not the Israelis now have the capability of fabricating nuclear weapons which might be employed in the Near East…I urge that the Federal Bureau of Investigation be called upon to initiate a discreet intelligence investigation of all source nature of Dr. Shapiro in order to establish the nature and extent of his relationship with the Government of Israel." (PDF)
The FBI investigation documented Shapiro’s many meetings with top Israeli nuclear weapons development officials such as Avraham Hermoni and wiretapped a conversation representative of the overall lack of concern over worker safety and the environment by Shapiro and Lowenthal. The FBI discovered that NUMEC had formed a joint venture with the Israel Atomic Energy Commission called Isorad to supply food irradiators to Israel. The now-defunct Atomic Energy Agency questioned Zalman Shapiro in 1969 – never asking if he had diverted material – over his many meetings with Israelis known to the FBI to be intelligence operatives. After the AEC defended Shapiro and his continued holding of security clearances, the FBI terminated its intelligence investigation.
In 1976 the Ford administration reopened the NUMEC investigation in order to determine if a diversion had occurred and whether a government cover-up had ensued. The 130-page release is replete with formal CIA denials to Congressional Committee investigators, the GAO and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission inquiries about whether the CIA had participated in any illegal diversions, or whether it was aware of any presidential finding authorizing such an operation. Arizona Democrat Morris Udall asked bluntly on August 23, 1977 “Is it possible that President Johnson, who was known to be a friend of Israel, could have encouraged the flow of nuclear materials to the Israelis?” Citing CIA’s role in alerting the attorney general to the problem as evidence that it was not involved, the agency also repeatedly emphasized “we in CIA are not and have not been concerned with the law enforcement aspects of this problem. Indeed, Dick Helms turned the matter over to the FBI in order to avoid such involvement.” Rather, exploring the NUMEC-Israel link was part of CIA’s intelligence function to substantiate why its National Intelligence Estimate concluded Israel had a nuclear arsenal.
FBI special agents soon lost morale over being sent unprepared into a second investigation. The CIA, for its part, continued withholding critical information that could have provided both motivation and a tool for confronting hostile interviewees. This was according to the newly released CIA files “information…of obvious importance in reaching an intelligence decision on the probability of diversion, it is not of any legal pertinence to the FBI’s criminal investigation of NUMEC. In our discussions with the FBI we have alluded to this information but we have not made the details available to special agents from the Washington Field Office of the FBI who are working on the case. While Mr. Bush’s [then-CIA Director George H.W. Bush] conversations are not known to us, we have had no substantive discussions with officials at FBI Headquarters on this matter.” It was this sensitive CIA information, made available only to the president, cabinet, and a limited number of top agency officials that led one National Security Council staffer to conclude, “I do not think that the President has plausible deniability.”
On June 6, 1977 Associate Deputy Director for Operations Theodore Shackley briefed the FBI agents in charge of the NUMEC investigation. They grumbled that since they had not established that the diversion took place, they could not begin to address the second question about a cover-up. They then pleaded for “new information” from the CIA, blithely ignorant that their reasoning was completely backward – it was old information they required, and it was the CIA’s withholding of it that was the true cover-up. The FBI also thought it needed a NUMEC insider willing to blow the whistle in order to finally break the case open.
Unknown to the FBI, every CIA director was complicit in withholding a key clandestine operational finding from investigators. According to a May 11, 1977 report by Shackley, the “CIA has not furnished to the FBI sensitive agent reporting…since the decision was made by Directors Helms, Colby and Bush that this information would not further the investigation of NUMEC but would compromise sources and methods.”
Though carefully redacted from the CIA release, the omitted fact was likely that highly enriched uranium of a signature unique to NUMEC had been detected in Israel, a country that did not have facilities to enrich uranium. This sensitive information(PDF) was delivered to former Atomic Energy Commissioner Glen Seaborg by two Department of Energy investigators sifting for more facts about NUMEC in June of 1978. It was powerful enough evidence that the retired Seaborg subsequently refused to be interviewed by less informed FBI investigators.
The CIA noted FBI investigators “indicated that even if they came up with a case, it was extremely unlikely that Justice and State would allow it to come to trial…they feel that they have been given a job to do with none of the tools necessary to do it.” Although in 1981 special agents finally identified a former NUMEC employee who had personally witnessed the means of the diversion – Zalman Shapiro and other NUMEC officials stuffing HEU canisters into irradiators (PDF) sealed and rushed to Israel – lacking the missing CIA puzzle piece the FBI investigation went dormant as the statute of limitations for Atomic Energy Act violations – punishable by death – finally expired.
Grant F. Smith is the author of DIVERT! NUMEC, Zalman Shapiro, and the diversion of U.S. weapons-grade uranium into the Israeli nuclear weapons program. He currently serves as director of research at the Institute for Research: Middle Eastern Policy in Washington (IRmep), D.C. Read other articles by Smith, or visit the IRmep website.
Read more by Grant Smith
- End of Israeli ‘Nuclear Ambiguity’ Good For Peace – March 30th, 2015
- US Confirmed Existence of Israeli H-Bomb Program in 1987 – February 13th, 2015
- Espionage Allegations Intensify Battle for Israel’s Technion Nuke File – November 20th, 2014
- Most Americans Say US Gives Too Much Aid to Israel – September 29th, 2014
- DOJ Demands Immunity for Anti-Iran Group UANI – September 14th, 2014
The five tragedies of “ambiguity” and benefits to be gained by its demise are only slowly emerging from the rubble.ReplyDelete
Ambiguity was premised on presidential fear of the Israel lobby. The history of so-called “ambiguity” is sordid, which is why it was classified for decades. Until the very end, JFK waged a two-front battle against Israel going nuclear and the undue influence of the Israel lobby. Both the LBJ and Nixon administrations considered withholding conventional military aid in order to keep Israel from going nuclear. In the end, fear of Israel’s US lobby, rather than any legitimate US national security concern, was the linchpin of "ambiguity." As recently declassified administration papers put it, fears of a “Zionist campaign to try to undermine“(PDF) Nixon encouraged him to sign America on.
American presidents lied about Israel. As Professor John Mearsheimer once characterized it, the key question to ask about Israel’s opacity policy was, “who are you fooling?” No Middle East national leader or Western elite ever doubted Israel has nuclear weapons. A statistically significant poll last year reveals that the majority of American adults believe Israel has nuclear weapons. Since nobody is actually fooled by so-called, "ambiguity," compliance by US presidents must have been for some other important purposes. Presently, only a few understand how abusive the policy truly was to non-proliferation, taxpayers and the rule of law.
Nonproliferation undermined. The premise of many self-appointed proliferation experts has been that “ambiguity” reduced nuclear proliferation. They point to the fact of Saudi Arabia and Egypt not going nuclear as an outcome of Israel’s not opening flaunting its nuclear arsenal. Yet proliferation did occur, from Israel, and from the US to Israel.ReplyDelete
There is credible evidence that Israel offered South Africa’s apartheid regime nuclear weapons and know-how, a harsh blow to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. Worse still, by purloining material, technology and know-how from the United States, which then usually abstains from enforcing its own export control laws and the Atomic Energy Act, Israel’s program puts the US in violation of the NNPT.
Skewed information, skewed debate. The US government gags federal workers, under threat of prosecution, from honestly discussing Israel’s nuclear arsenal. In elite media, the current US debate about nuclear proliferation in the Middle East focuses almost entirely on Iran, a non-nuclear weapons holding signatory to the NNPT. Israeli journalists and foreign correspondents in Israel are gagged by military censors from discussing Israel’s nukes. Elite media networks are beholden to the US government policy due to their need to maintain "access" to sources. But journalists also, as reported in the Washington Post, felt the need not to "out friends."
US taxpayers defrauded. Beyond flouting the NNPT, what is the other real reason Israel, its US lobbying organizations like AIPAC, and presidents have been content to promote and maintain an ambiguity policy nobody actually believed in? Money. All US aid to Israel since 1976 has been delivered in direct violation of the Symington and Glenn Amendments to the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 which forbids US aid to nuclear states outside NNPT. By publicly pretending it could not "speculate" about or know the status of the arsenal, the presidential ambiguity policy has been used to violate these important nonproliferation laws. The end victim has been the US taxpayer who, adjusting for inflation, shelled out $234 billion in illegal aid to Israel since 1976.Delete
US taxpayers, all 122 million of them, should immediately (or at least before April 15) begin looking for ways to claim their $1,910 average credit for unlawful taxes transferred to nuclear Israel. It is now the Federal government’s problem figuring out how to "claw back" that illegal aid.
The establishment news media, after recognizing its many decades of failure, should now begin asking the real questions. The first and most obvious is, "precisely who does Israel target with its arsenal of hydrogen bombs?" Are such weapons aimed at regional rivals dominated by Israel’s conventional superiority – or more plausibly – coercing major power support for other policies just as dubious and harmful as "ambiguity"?
Once again, Israel has been and continues to be a disaster for the US and the US people.ReplyDelete
Based on this, Iran is insane for not having a nuclear deterrent.Delete
That said, the idea that Iran is willing to comply with the Iran deal while Netanyahu is still frothing at the mouth, is a remarkable diplomatic achievement.Delete
Surely the Bush Administration was aware of this fact when they took the US to war in Iraq over WMD. It was reckless and criminal deception by employees of the US government against the US people and an atrocity against the Iraqi people.
The Israeli corruption of the US government and political system is complete.
This has been going on since at least 1968. Is it any wonder that the Israeli premeditated murder of US servicemen on the US Liberty in 1967 was covered up?ReplyDelete
As Allen said, multiple investigations found your blood libel screed nonsense.Delete
But there is no debate, Yasser Arafat did indeed, on multiple occasions murder Americans, both US Governmental Officials and civilians, and those investigations had a clear cut answer.
the Palestinians are known for only one thing in the world. MURDER
Once again you prove yourself.ReplyDelete
Retired general and former Central Intelligence Agency Director David Petraeus, who led U.S. forces in Afghanistan and Iraq, has been “quietly urging” U.S. officials to work with members of al-Qaeda’s Syrian al-Nusra group to combat ISIS and the mounting crisis with Syrian refugees, according to reports from The Daily Beast.ReplyDelete
Al-Nusra is made up of Sunni Islamic jihadist fighters and is the only al-Qaeda group operating in war-ravaged Syria. The Syrian al-Qaeda group first formed in 2012, near the beginning of the continuing Syrian civil war, which has displaced millions and sent an untold number of refugees streaming over land and sea routes to Europe seeking safety. Without change, the number of Syrian refugees is only expected to increase.
U.S. officials approached by Petraeus with the notion of working with the Syrian al-Qaeda found the idea “politically toxic” and filled with seemingly insurmountable obstacles.
Petraeus worked with Sunni fighers in 2007, convincing them to work with U.S. troops rather than fighting against al-Qaeda in Iraq. The strategy was successful for a short period. However, al-Qaeda in Iraq later morphed into ISIS and hold the Syrian al-Qaeda and al-Qaeda elsewhere as a “sworn enemy.”
The Syrian al-Qaeda has been named as a terrorist organization by the Obama government. In 2014, the U.S. conducted air raids on Syrian al-Qaeda Khorasan Group hideouts. The group was training Syrian operatives to smuggle bombs hidden in clothing onto Western airliners, according to reports from CNN.
That the Syrian al-Qaeda has been designated as a terrorist organization puts the legality of a plan of cooperation in question.
However, the Obama administration has had little success with any attempt to combat ISIS in Syria, and the fact that anyone, including Petraeus, is comfortable floating the idea of cooperating with an off-shoot of the Syrian al-Qaeda group speaks volumes with regard to how seriously the U.S. intelligence and defense community takes the ISIS threat.
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s brutal regime is seen as creating an environment ripe for groups like ISIS and al-Nusra to form. Many of the Syrian al-Qaeda group are seen as moderate, fighting with al-Nusra not out of strong shared ideology, but because of a shared common enemy: Assad.
It is these Syrian moderates that Petraeus feels the U.S. may be able to convert.
Senior naval analyst Christoper Harmer, with the Institute for the Study of War, noted the admission of a U.S. failure in Syria.
“This is an acknowledgment that the U.S. stated goal to degrade and destroy ISIS is not working. If it were, we would not be talking to these not quite foreign terrorist groups. Strategically, it is desperate.”
Read more at http://www.inquisitr.com/2395999/arm-al-qaeda-in-syria-to-fight-isis-retired-general-petreaus-on-syrian-refugees-crisis/#X69sewOQhE3L2vAF.99
Nuclear Whistleblower Says Israel Won’t Let Him Leave Because He’s MoroccanReplyDelete
Monday 7 September 2015 - 08:20
Mordechai Vanunu, an Israeli nuclear scientist who was born in Marrakech in 1954, said in an interview with Israeli station Channel 2 quoted by the International Business Times that he is forbidden to leave Israel because of his Moroccan descent. He said he has written to the Israeli Interior minister to renounce his citizenship and allow him to leave the country without success.
“I’ve no ties to Israel, I don’t feel Israeli,” said Vanunu. “I am married to a Norwegian wife. She can’t live here. I want to start my life, I’m done with all this. I said it a hundred times, I want to be let go live my life with my wife abroad.”
Vanunu, also known as John Crossman, photographed Israel’s nuclear site at Dimona in the Negev desert and sold the images to the Sunday Times in 1986.
The Moroccan-born technician was later lured to Italy by a Mossad agent, where he was drugged and abducted, and taken to Israel where he was charged with treason and espionage in 1988. He spent more than 11 years of his sentence in solitary confinement.
Vanunu, who has converted to Christianity, has been barred from leaving Israel or speaking to foreigners without permission since his release in 2004. The 60-year-old was arrested several times for violations of those restrictions.
JPOST.COM STAFF \ 09/04/2015Delete
Vanunu, the former technician at the Dimona nuclear plant who was imprisoned for 18 years for divulging secrets related to Israel’s purported nuclear weapons program, gave his first interview to the Hebrew-language Israeli press on Friday.
Vanunu told Channel 2 that his decision to photograph sensitive nuclear facilities at Dimona, revealing information that Israel had kept secret until that point, was motivated by his desire to "inform the citizens of the Middle East, the world, and the state of Israel."
The former technician said that he had gradually adopted left-wing views during his employment at Dimona, and that he was horrified at "the danger" of Israel's nuclear weapons program.
Vanunu was jailed as a traitor in 1986 and served an 18-year sentence after discussing his work as a technician at Israel's Dimona nuclear reactor with a British newspaper, an interview that led experts to conclude the facility had produced fissile material for as many as 200 atomic warheads.
After his release from jail in 2004, Israeli defense authorities barred Vanunu from traveling abroad or speaking with foreigners, alleging he has more details on the Dimona atomic reactor to divulge.
The restrictions, upheld by Israel's Supreme Court, have been condemned by international human rights groups.
The US violates it’s own laws by supplying aid and military equipment to Israel as Israel refuses to sign the NNPT.Delete
In 1976 Congress passed the Symington Amendment. The Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, as amended by the Symington Amendment and the Glenn Amendment of 1977, prohibits U.S. military assistance to nations that acquire or transfer nuclear reprocessing technology outside of international nonproliferation regimes, such as the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).Delete
And yet you continue...Delete
You are losing it
Meanwhile out this way with the coming of the colder weather - the skies are smokeless now, we had a good rain - the doves are beginning to move south, the geese are flying - o I hope to see another incident of them flying while under the influence - skunk drunk from eating fermented grains from the fields - doing their typsies in the air - and the deer, and now elk too, and trying to fatten up out at the farm for the coming winter. Kitty is not staying out all night now, she comes in and curls up, sometimes at my feet, the mighty Vandals are looking at film of their next opponent, my Niece is too busy to write much, and my Representative, Raul Labrador is safely 'in the back pocket' of The Lobby, so I am told but do not believe, and life goes on, just as it should, and will.......ReplyDelete
Sometimes one can feel, as the old song sings, like a motherless child, at other times one can feel like one is in Heaven -ReplyDelete
from The Hillary Is Toast Files -
September 7, 2015
Pagliano didn't disclose off-the-books pay for secret work on Hillary's server
By Thomas Lifson
Well, well, well, we now know at least one reason why Bryan Pagliano took the Fifth. Buried in the 13th paragraph of the Washington Post story on him two days ago is this tidbit, spotted by Scott Johnson of Powerline:
Pagliano did not list the outside income in the required personal financial disclosures he filed each year.
This could lead to criminal charges:
In addition to any Committee action, the Ethics in Government Act authorizes the Attorney General of the United States to seek a civil penalty of up to $50,000 against an individual who knowingly and willfully falsifies or fails to file or to report any required information. Moreover, anyone who knowingly and willfully falsifies or conceals any material fact in a statement to the Government may be subject to fines, criminal prosecution, and sentencing.
See 5 U.S.C. appx. § 104(a).
If the political will exists to bargain with Pagliano to flip on Hillary and spill the beans, there are some interesting possibilities ahead. Former prosecutor Trey Gowdy knows how it's done.
Read more: http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2015/09/pagliano_didnt_disclose_offthebooks_pay_for_secret_work_on_hillarys_server.html#ixzz3l6AUoBzh
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This comment has been removed by the author.Delete
Idaho BobMon Sep 07, 07:30:00 PM EDTReplyDelete
Spill the beans !
Spill the beans !
I love spilled beans in the morning....
The smell of hot coffee and spilled beans and the morning newspaper.....ahhhhh....
I have noticed, around these parts, a certain lack, a certain reticence, a certain unwillingness of anyone to STAND UP FOR HILLARY any longer.....Delete
Even young noble liberal wayward Ash seems to have gone missing......
Quirk jumped ship long ago......an automatic reaction learned from his years in advertising.....Delete
And Rufus is dead quiet on the subject.....Delete
And Deuce did put up one thread dissing this unholy bitch....Delete
I damned near ready to vote for Bernie, too....
Though I would never do, of course.Delete
I got options.
Go, Ben !