Stealing the Atom Bomb: How Denial and Deception Armed Israel by Roger J Mattson
In the mid 1960s, hundreds of kilograms of highly enriched uranium went missing from a nuclear fuel manufacturing plant called NUMEC in Apollo, PA. From the time the Atomic Energy Commission first discovered that significant amounts of this atom-bomb-making material were missing, there was a concern that it went to Israel because of the connection between the plant’s owners and Israeli nuclear and intelligence officials. Because of the enormously high stakes involved, denial and deception have clouded the affair for half a century. Although the AEC, its successor agency the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the FBI, the CIA, the Congressional Joint Committee on Atomic Energy, the General Accounting Office, the National Security Council, the Defense Intelligence Agency, two committees of the U.S. House of Representatives and four presidential administrations purported to investigate what became of the uranium, they never found it. They all acknowledged that the material might have made its way to Israel, and some in high position were certain it went there, but, until recently, proof was veiled in secrecy. This book brings together for the first time recently discovered personal papers of the lead CIA agent, recently declassified files of NRC, GAO, FBI and CIA, and interviews of U.S. government investigators. The author is an engineer who led a 1977 NRC investigation of the affair that was thwarted by unwarranted secrecy and interagency bumbling. This book culminates years of research to get at the facts and set the record straight.