The Nuclear Materials and Equipment Corporation (NUMEC) and the diversion of US government weapons-grade uranium to Israel
Since the mid-1960s law enforcement and regulatory agencies suspected a small nuclear processing facility in Pennsylvania had illegally diverted U.S. government-owned weapons-grade nuclear material into Israel’s clandestine nuclear weapons program. The Nuclear Materials and Equipment Corporation received start-up capital organized by a mysterious former smuggler with deep and ongoing ties to Israeli intelligence. FBI investigations revealed NUMEC President Zalman Mordecai Shapiro also had repeated unexplained interactions with Israeli intelligence and organized a joint venture with the primary front organization of the Israeli nuclear weapons program. According to a 2001 US Department of Energy report, NUMEC still holds the record for the highest losses of bomb-grade material of any plant in the United States.
In April 1976 Attorney General Edward Levi ordered the FBI to reopen an investigation into Dr. Zalman Shapiro and the Nuclear Materials and Equipment Corporation (NUMEC). The newly reopened investigation looked beyond violations of the Atomic Energy Act. The FBI’s new mandate was to also uncover “any attempt by anyone in the executive branch to prevent or impede an investigation into this alleged diversion, or to withhold any information regarding this alleged diversion from any investigative body.” The FBI code-named its investigation “DIVERT.” The FBI interrogated high-level officials from U.S. government agencies and NUMEC employee eyewitnesses to nuclear diversion. Inexplicably, on January 23, 1981 the FBI placed the NUMEC investigation into “closed status” until further instructions from the Department of Justice. Field offices were ordered not to destroy files without instructions from FBI headquarters. The NUMEC investigation portfolio, which had passed from LBJ, to Nixon, and on to Ford was closed at the end of the Carter administration.
Read more: “an Israeli operation from the beginning…”
The NUMEC Cover-up: The Diversion of U.S. Weapons Grade Uranium from NUMEC to Israel
On January 31, 2013 the Institute for Research: Middle Eastern Policy hosted a public education event just north of Apollo Pennsylvania. Author Grant F. Smith discussed key findings from his 2012 book, “Divert! NUMEC, Zalman Shapiro, and the Diversion of US Weapons-Grade Uranium into the Israeli Nuclear Weapons Program” at the Parks Township Volunteer Fire Hall.
Smith’s talk covered the corporate histories of NUMEC and Apollo Industries, how regulators dealt with the plant’s massive losses of bomb-grade nuclear material, the FBI’s investigation of NUMEC’s joint venture with a front for Israel’s nuclear weapons program, and the ongoing clandestine interactions of NUMEC executives with Israeli intelligence and covert nuclear weapons program operatives.
Smith also unveiled a major new effort to declassify all remaining CIA, NSA, Justice Department and National Security Council files revealing how American presidents quietly grappled with NUMEC as a proliferation and safeguards issue from the LBJ to the Carter administrations.
Video (mirrored) Published on February 11, 2013 Courtesy of IRmep Stream
Watch the video on Vimeo: The NUMEC Cover-up Diversion of U.S. Weapons Grade Uranium from NUMEC to Israel
Israel’s Nuclear Arsenal: Espionage, Opacity and Future
Theme: What do newly declassified documents about weapons grade uranium and dual-use technology diversions from the US reveal about the role of espionage in building Israel’s secret arsenal? Did Israel’s proposed nuclear weapons sales to apartheid South Africa signal they are still for sale if the partner and price are right?
Do FBI and CIA cover-ups of investigations into Israeli nuclear espionage signal official US government approval or political acquiescence? Did cooperating with Israel’s policy of “strategic ambiguity” ever make sense for the United States? Is the era of ‘nuclear opacity” now coming to an end? Are Israel’s nuclear weapons of strategic benefit to the US? John Mearsheimer, Sasha Polokow Suransky and Grant F. Smith tackled these questions.
Video (mirrored) Published on November 6, 2017 Courtesy of IRmep Stream
Watch the video on Vimeo: Israel’s Nuclear Arsenal_ Espionage, Opacity and Future