There is a "revelation" in James Risen’s latest
book – State
of War: The Secret History of the CIA and the Bush Administration –
that is perhaps more revealing than anyone intended.
According to Risen, back in February 2000, the CIA finally found a job for
one of their assets – a Russian "defector," long on their payroll,
but never usefully employed. They sent him to IAEA headquarters in Vienna with
what Risen characterizes as "blueprints for
a nuclear bomb" with instructions to give them to the Iranian delegate to
The Russian was actually "carrying technical designs for a TBA 480 high-voltage
block, otherwise known as a ‘firing set’, for a Russian-designed nuclear weapon."
"He [the Russian] held in his hands the knowledge needed to create a perfect
implosion that could trigger a nuclear chain reaction inside a small spherical
core. It was one of the greatest engineering secrets in the world, providing
the solution to one of a handful of problems that separated nuclear powers such
as the United States and Russia from rogue countries such as Iran that were
desperate to join the nuclear club but had so far fallen short.
Iran has spent nearly 20 years trying to develop nuclear weapons, and in
the process has created a strong base of sophisticated scientists knowledgeable
enough to spot flaws in nuclear blueprints. Tehran also obtained nuclear blueprints
from the network of Pakistani scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan, and so already had
workable blueprints against which to compare the designs obtained from the CIA.
Nuclear experts say that they would thus be able to extract valuable information
from the blueprints while ignoring the flaws."
After almost three years of exhaustive go-anywhere see-anything interview-anyone
inspections, IAEA inspectors have yet to find any indication that Iran has –
or ever had – a nuclear weapons program.
Furthermore, there is no evidence whatsoever that Iran obtained "workable
blueprints" for a fire-set, much less for a nuclear weapon, from the Pakistanis.
And there is no sense in which a fire-set is "one of the greatest engineering
secrets in the world." A fire-set is an electrical device wherein an enormous
charge is built up relatively slowly and stored on a capacitor until the precise
millisecond that charge-pulse is needed to simultaneously vaporize the ‘bridge
wires’ in one or more high-explosive detonators.
There’s nothing secret about it. The Iraqis got the know-how from the open
But, here’s the really interesting part of Risen’s story.
The CIA went to a great deal of trouble to plant on the Iranians authentic
blueprints for an authenic fire-set for an authenic Russian nuke.
Risen says the design – which was authentic – had been slightly altered, so
that if "built to print" it wouldn’t work. Risen says the CIA was providing
the stupid Iranians misinformation.
But what if that was not what the CIA was really doing?
What if the Bush-Cheney administration has since told our "allies" and neo-crazy
media sycophants that the CIA has obtained "intelligence" that the Russians
– who are completing the 1000 MWe nuclear power plant at Bushehr – have also
been secretly assisting the Iranians develop nuclear weapons?
Has the CIA told the IAEA where to go and what to look for?
In the office of the Iranian delegate to the IAEA? Or in a military lab where
high-explosives and fire-sets would be developed?
Remember back in 2003, shortly after Iran agreed to sign – and immediately
adhere to – an Additional Protocol to their IAEA Safeguards Agreement, Libya
did, too. (Apparently the CIA and MI6 twisted Momar Khadafi’s arms for several
years before allowing him to contact the IAEA Director-General.)
ElBaradei was shown warehouses full of uranium-enrichment equipment, much of
it still in shipping crates. (The CIA immediately confiscated most of it.)
However, ElBaradei reported that he found no evidence that Libya had yet produced
even small amounts of enriched uranium.
Apparently, the Libyans – like the Iranians – had the money to buy such equipment,
but – unlike the Iranians – had no idea what to do with it once they got it.
But, the Washington Post also reported
that the Libyans gave ElBaradei two white plastic shopping bags from a Pakistani
One of the bags contained drawings and blueprints, apparently of an early model
Given by a CIA Chinese "asset" to the Libyan delegate to the IAEA?
Condi is reportedly "losing patience" with Putin. After reading Risen’s
book you can probably imagine what Putin thinks of her.