Commentary — Back in February the Defense Department finally granted a three-year-old request under the Freedom of Information Act to release a 1987 report discussing Israel’s nuclear technology. Grant Smith of the Institute for Research: Middle Eastern Policy filed the request in 2012. As can be seen from the two articles below, the release of the report was covered in a variety of outlets, yet the story never gained any traction.
Meanwhile, the Zio media has reported 24/7 on Iran’s nuclear program, which has never produced a single explosive and is monitored above and beyond the requirements of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Even with Netanyahu crashing Washington with the help of Congressional Republicans and the possibility of a new nuclear deal with Iran the talk of the town, this most fundamental bit of relevant information — Israel’s decades old acquisition of nuclear and hydrogen weapons, is conveniently left out of the discussion.
The US government blows the lid off Israel’s nuclear weapons program by declassifying a top secret document, a report says.
Last month the United States released documentation from its 1987 assessment of Israel’s nuclear weapons capabilities, following a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, the Jerusalem Post reported on Saturday.
The 386-page document, formally titled Critical Technological Assessment in Israel and NATO Nations, was commissioned by the Department of Defense and complied by Leading Technologies Incorporated.
According to the report, the document gives a detailed breakdown of Israel’s nuclear weapons development in the 1970s and 1980s.
Israel is “developing the kind of codes which will enable them to make hydrogen bombs. That is, codes which detail fission and fusion processes on a microscopic and macroscopic level,” reads the declassified document.
It goes on to say that in the 1980s Israel was “reaching the ability to create bombs considered a thousand times more powerful than atom bombs.”
It also parallels Israel’s nuclear research laboratories to US nuclear facilities known to carry out weapons research.
The Soreq and Dimona nuclear facilities “are the equivalent of our Los Alamos, Lawrence Livermore and Oak Ridge National Laboratories,” it reads.
“The Soreq center runs the full nuclear gamut of activities from engineering, administration, and non-destructive testing to electro-optics, pulsed power, process engineering and chemistry and nuclear research and safety,” the paper goes on to say. “This is the technology base required for nuclear weapons design and fabrication.”
In accordance to FOIA regulations, the United States informs the relevant partner giving them the option of formal objection.
The Jerusalem Post quoted US Army Col. Steven Warren, the director of Pentagon press operations, as saying that Israel was informed of “our planned release of the documents and they did not object.”
The release of the document is thought to be the first time the United States has publicly acknowledged Israel’s possession of nuclear weapons.
The Israeli regime, widely believed to possess between 200 to 400 nuclear warheads in its arsenals, refuses to either allow inspections of its nuclear facilities or join the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).
(From the Jerusalem Post)
|Photo by: screenshot|
|LAUSANNE, Switzerland – Last month, the US released documentation from 1987 of its assessment of Israel’s nuclear weapons capabilities, required to do so by law after receiving a request filed under the Freedom of Information Act.The document, “Critical Technological Assessment in Israel and NATO Nations,” was written by Leading Technologies Inc. for the Institute for Defense Analyses, and commissioned by the US Department of Defense. Its contents are based on visits by US experts, in coordination with the embassy in Tel Aviv and with the guidance of the Pentagon, to facilities and laboratories across Israel.While Israel has never publicly acknowledged having nuclear weapons, foreign sources say it does. Israel is not a signatory of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.This document summarizes in detail Washington’s understanding of the nature and purpose of that program as it stood in the 1980s.Two of Israel’s nuclear facilities at the time, the Soreq Nuclear Research Center near Yavne and the Negev Nuclear Research Center in Dimona, “are the equivalent of our Los Alamos, Lawrence Livermore and Oak Ridge National Laboratories,” the US document reads.
“The Soreq center runs the full nuclear gamut of activities from engineering, administration, and nondestructive testing to electro-optics, pulsed power, process engineering and chemistry and nuclear research and safety,” the paper continues.
“This is the technology base required for nuclear weapons design and fabrication.”
The report goes on to detail Israel’s experimentation with various nuclear fuels, laserbased nuclear weapons detonation devices and the effects of radiation propagation.
While the assessment concluded that, at the time, Israel’s weapons design was “extremely conservative,” it said the Jewish state was experimenting with coding “which will enable them to make hydrogen bombs.”
The document appears to have been categorized as “declassified” upon its submission, suggesting an assessment within the US government that its findings would be low-impact if made public.
That, too, must have been the assessment of the Israeli government in 2014, as it had the opportunity to keep the document secret but declined.
“We did inform the Israeli government of our planned release of the documents and they did not object,” US Army Col. Steven Warren, director of Pentagon press operations, confirmed to The Jerusalem Post.
Upon receiving a Freedom of Information Act request concerning information sensitive to foreign governments, the US informs the relevant partner, giving it the opportunity to formally object.
“The US government was by law required to release the report upon such a FOIA request unless we had a written request from the relevant foreign government – Israel – that the information continue to be withheld,” one senior administration official told the Post on Friday. “Israel did not object to the release of this information.”
Israeli officials declined to comment for this report, neither confirming nor denying concerns over the document, the contents of its assessment or the politics surrounding its release.
While the Freedom of Information Act request was made years ago, the release of the document was first discussed in recent months – in the shadow of debate over Iran’s nuclear weapons work.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has called at the United Nations for a nuclear-free zone in the Middle East, suggesting that his country’s nuclear program may be in response to Israel’s own.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu adamantly opposes a working proposal under discussion here in Switzerland that would aim to cap, restrict, monitor and roll back much of Tehran’s nuclear program for a limited period. The deadline for a framework agreement in those negotiations falls on Tuesday.
Privately, those who acknowledge Israel’s nuclear weapons program tout its effect as a deterrent. Israel’s program is understood to have been developed in the late 1960s, after the young country had already been at war with the forces of eight Arab nations.
The Israeli government fears that Iran’s program serves a different purpose: Not deterrence, but embodiment of aggressive behavior and the protection of a regime that calls for the destruction of the Jewish state.
The Iranian government says its right to develop homegrown nuclear technology – guaranteed by the United Nations – is a point of national pride.
Conservative Israeli and American media, including Fox News, the Drudge Report and The Washington Examiner, have suggested that the timing of the document’s release was an intentional move by the Obama administration to undermine Netanyahu.
The document was indeed released when Israel’s concerns over an Iran deal were first raised at high pitch. The White House considers Netanyahu’s behavior, including his March 3 speech to a joint meeting of Congress attacking Obama’s Iran policy, as disrespectful of the presidency and a politicization of the US-Israel relationship.
US President Barack Obama does not review Freedom of Information Act requests, nor does any president, for unclassified documents.
While Israel has not discussed the document or its release, one official did acknowledge that discussion over the matter began in 2014.