BIOLOGICAL AND CHEMICAL WEAPONS
March 16, 2007: The U.S. National Intelligence
Council, in a recent report to Congress, admitted that they are not sure if Russian nuclear
weapons, and weapons grade nuclear material, are secure from terrorists. Translation;
"we don't have a clue about what's going on with the nuclear material, and
believe the Russians don't either, but we are not sure, and the Russians are
not being forthcoming."
Then again, all of the Russian nuclear material
recovered from dealers and smugglers has come from commercial, not military,
sources. We know from other intel (at least stuff that has been released), that
Russian nuclear security troops have been approached with offers to help steal
nuclear material. But if anything was sold, it has not shown up. There have
been dozens of nuclear materials dealers caught in the last decade. If material
stolen from military stocks exists,
where is it? All this stuff is really good for is a dirty bomb, and it's easier
to get radioactive material from other sources (like chemotherapy labs at
hospitals) for a dirty bomb. Getting a Russian nuke, without the PAL keys
(codes to activate the bomb), just gets you nuclear material and some disabled
It's also worth remembering that the engineering of
a nuclear weapon is more of a chore than getting the nuclear material. Both
Pakistan and North Korea have detonated poorly engineered nuclear weapons that
fizzled, demonstrating how easy it is to screw up the engineering. As for dirty
bombs, it's dangerous transporting nuclear material, and several couriers of
that stuff have ended up dead, or very, very sick.
Russia's military stockpiles of nuclear bombs and
material may be vulnerable, but so far, there's been no evidence of it.
reporter Eric Rosenberg first wrote about the U.S. National Intelligence
Council report on March 11. The above article was an email sent to him, after
he sent us a copy of the article for comments. Eric asked for a plug. We don't
usually give plugs, but I thought you might like to know how some of our
articles come to be. Many come from incoming, and outgoing, email exchanges.