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News release from the Institute for Research: Middle Eastern Policy (IRmep)
A federal lawsuit seeks disclosure of thousands of Central Intelligence Agency files revealing why the CIA is convinced that Israel stole enough U.S. government-owned weapons-grade uranium in the 1960’s to manufacture over a dozen atomic weapons.
The 147-page complaint (PDF) filed in DC’s U.S. District Court contains exhibits about how U.S. weapons-grade uranium was illegally diverted from the now-defunct Nuclear Materials and Equipment Corporation (NUMEC) in Apollo, Pennsylvania into the clandestine Israeli nuclear weapons development program. The CIA for decades has blocked researcher Freedom of Information Act access to its core files on the NUMEC diversion.
1.An FBI eyewitness account of NUMEC executives stuffing irradiators with weapons-grade uranium canisters for rush shipment to Israel.
2.A leaked file of CIA Directorate of Operations Chief Carl Duckett confirming the illegal diversion to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
3.The NUMEC facility visit during its highest-loss year of Israel’s top spies, including Jonathan Pollard’s handler Rafael Eitan and Avraham Bendor.
4.LBJ and Carter administration attempts to cover-up CIA’s compelling evidence that an illegal diversion occurred.
5.CIA Tel Aviv Station Chief John Hadden’s analysis that NUMEC “was an Israeli operation from the beginning.”
6.Former Atomic Energy Commissioner Glenn T. Seaborg’s account of the Energy Department claims that traces of the specialized highly-enriched uranium provided to NUMEC were picked up in Israel.
7.A GAO report on NUMEC with CIA equity the Interagency Security Classification Appeals Panel compelled be publicly released in 2014.
Currently, U.S. taxpayers are expected to pay for a nearly half-billion dollar U.S. Army Corps of Engineers cleanup of the environment surrounding the undercapitalized smuggling front’s former plant sites and waste dump.
According to IRmep Director Grant F. Smith, “It is our hope that this lawsuit is a productive step in finally holding those truly responsible for the NUMEC fiasco accountable.”
The Apollo Affair was a 1965 incident in which a US company, Nuclear Materials and Equipment Corporation (NUMEC), in the Pittsburgh suburbs of Apollo and Parks Township, Pennsylvania was investigated for losing 200-600 pounds of highly enriched uranium. In 1965, the FBI investigated Zalman Shapiro, the company's president, over the loss of 206 pounds of highly enriched uranium. After investigations by the Atomic Energy Commission, the Central Intelligence Agency, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, other government agencies, and inquiring reporters, no charges were ever filed. A General Accounting Office study of the investigations declassified in May 2010 stated "We believe a timely, concerted effort on the part of these three agencies would have greatly aided and possibly solved the NUMEC diversion questions, if they desired to do so."
In February 1976 the CIA briefed senior staff at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) about the matter, stating that the CIA believed the missing highly enriched uranium went to Israel. The NRC informed the White House, leading to President-elect Carter being briefed about the investigation. Carter asked for an assessment by his National Security Advisor, whose staff concluded "The CIA case is persuasive, though not conclusive."