In an unusual development with major implications, the U.S. government has made public an unclassified but heretofore unreleased 1987 report by the Department of Defense that describes Israel's work on a hydrogen bomb, Courthouse News reported Thursday. -- Grant Smith, a researcher who sued to make the report public, explained the significance of the report: "It's our basic position that in 1987 the Department of Defense discovered that Israel had a nuclear weapons program, detailed it, and then has covered it up for 25 years in violation of the Symington and Glenn amendments, costing taxpayers $86 billion." -- (BACKGROUND: Sen. Symington's amendment to the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, which is still on the books, bans most U.S. aid to countries trafficking in nuclear technology outside international safeguards, and Israel has refused to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. -- Sen. Glenn's 1977 amendment calls for an end to aid to countries that import nuclear reprocessing technology.) -- Smith contends that because of these amendments more than $80 billion of the aid that has been given to Israel in the years since 1987 has been illegal, and that this was able to take place only thanks to gag orders that threaten U.S. security-cleared government agency employees and contractors who disclose that Israel has a nuclear weapons program with punishment. -- That Israel has a sophisticated nuclear weapons program is an open secret; in a piece published Saturday, Smith noted that 64% of Americans already know that Israel has nuclear weapons. -- But as recently as December 2014, the Department of Defense was asserting in federal court that only Israel could release the report that has just been released, probably because of the implications of the admission for aid to Israel. -- Grant Smith concluded, sardonically: "On the eve of Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s visit to Congress and AIPAC to thwart a diplomatic deal over NNPT signer Iran’s civilian nuclear program, the report provides interesting reading to Americans tiring of U.S. government corruption on this important foreign aid law and the non-proliferation regime." -- COMMENT: This information demonstrates the highly selective nature of American anti-proliferation efforts. -- It also illustrates the highly selective nature of what American mainstream media publish about Israel. -- So far U.S. mainstream media has not breathed a word of these developments, though Russian media and Iranian media have highlighted them. -- Mark Gaffney, the author of Dimona: The Third Temple, on Israel's nuclear weapons program, said that "one has to admire the timing of the release which, I suspect, was ordered by the White House." ...
DOD REPORT DETAILS ISRAEL'S QUEST FOR HYDROGEN BOMB
By Janet McMahon
February 12, 2015
In the midst of controversy over the Israeli prime minister's plans to address Congress next month, a researcher has won the release of a decades-old Defense Department report detailing the U.S. government's extensive help to Israel in that nation's development of a nuclear bomb.
"I am struck by the degree of cooperation on specialized war making devices between Israel and the U.S.," said Roger Mattson, a former memer of the Atomic Energy Commission technical staff.
The 1987 report, "Critical Technology Assessment in Israel and NATO Nations," compares the key Israeli facilities developing nuclear weapons to Los Alamos and Oak Ridge National Laboratories, the principal U.S. laboratories that developed the bomb for the United States.
The tightly held report notes that the Israelis are "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."
The release comes after Grant Smith, director of the Washington, D.C.-based Institute for Research: Middle Eastern Policy, filed filed a FOIA request last year and followed with a lawsuit in September seeking to compel release of the report.
The government fought to delay release of the 386-page report in hearings before Judge Tanya Chutkan in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, who expressed skepticism with the government's reasons for refusing to provide a single unclassified document.
The report's release this week has substantial political ramifications.
In the controversial plan by Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to address the U.S. Congress -- widely interpreted as a violation of protocol and a snub of President Obama -- the prime minister is expected to argue against reaching any agreement with Tehran over Iran's nuclear weapons program.
The program is legal under the terms of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Iran is a signatory to the treaty, while Israel is not.
During a hearing late last year, Smith told Judge Chutkan: "It's our basic position that in 1987 the Department of Defense discovered that Israel had a nuclear weapons program, detailed it, and then has covered it up for 25 years in violation of the Symington and Glenn amendments, costing taxpayers $86 billion."
The government handed over the document in the midst of political controversy involving Israel, after months of fighting its release. The government, represented by Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Laura Jennings and DOD counsel Mark Herrington, had taken the position that confidentiality agreements necessitated a "line by line" review of the report.
Government lawyers then argued that the document's release is optional rather than mandatory, adding that "Diplomatic relations dictate that DoD seeks Israel's review."
In its release, the government redacted sections on NATO countries, with Smith's agreement. The portions relating to Israel provide a detailed and straightforward assessment of that nation's nuclear program.
"The capability of SOREQ to support SDIO and nuclear technologies is almost an exact parallel of the capability currently existing at our National Laboratories," said the report, produced by the Institute for Defense Analysis for the Department of Defense. "SOREQ and Dimona/Beer Sheva facilities are the equivalent of our Los Alamos, Lawrence Livermore and Oak Ridge National Laboratories . . . [and have] the technology base required for nuclear weapons design and fabrication."
Authors Edwin Townsley and Clarence Robinson continue: "As far as nuclear technology is concerned, the Israelis are roughly where the U.S. [w]as in the fission weapon field in about 1955 to 1960. It should be noted that the Israelis are developing the kind of codes which will enable them to make hydrogen bombs."
The report's Capability Assessment for Israel finds Israel to have overall Category 1 capability in all aspects of conventional, ATBM and SDI -- "Star Wars" weapons programs.
In his federal complaint, Smith wrote, "The Symington Amendment to the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 prohibits most U.S. foreign aid to any country found trafficking in nuclear enrichment equipment or technology outside international safeguards. The Glenn Amendment of 1977 calls for an end to U.S. foreign aid to countries that import nuclear reprocessing technology."
In a statement Thursday, Smith said: "Informal and Freedom of Information Act release of such information is rare. Under two known gag orders -- punishable by imprisonment -- U.S. security-cleared government agency employees and contractors may not disclose that Israel has a nuclear weapons program."
U.S. CONFIRMED EXISTENCE OF ISRAELI H-BOMB PROGRAM N 1987
By Grant Smith
** Report Raises Questions over U.S. Refusal to Enforce Own Foreign Aid Laws **
February 14, 2015
Back in 1987, according to a tightly-held report produced for the Pentagon, the Israelis were "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."
Such research was taking place in Israeli facilities similar to the major U.S. nuclear weapons development sites. "The SOREQ and the Dimona/Beer Shiva facilities are the equivalent of our Los Alamos, Lawrence Livermore, and Oak Ridge National Laboratories. 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. This is the technology base required for nuclear weapons design and fabrication."
Israel’s facilities at the time were stunningly advanced. "The capability of SOREQ to support SDIO and nuclear technologies is almost an exact parallel of the capability currently existing at our National Laboratories." The report, produced by the Institute for Defense Analysis for the Department of Defense was to provide an assessment of NATO and Israel’s weapons development initiatives of potential application to the Reagan Administration’s Strategic Defense Initiative, or SDI more popularly known as "Star Wars."
Informal and Freedom of Information Act release of such information is rare. Under two known gag orders -- punishable by imprisonment -- U.S. security-cleared government agency employees and contractors may not disclose that Israel has a nuclear weapons program. GEN-16 is a "no-comment" regulation on "classified information in the public domain." "DOE Classification Bulletin WPN-136 on Foreign Nuclear Capabilities" forbids stating what 63.9 percent of Americans already know -- that Israel has a nuclear arsenal.
The 1987 report’s confirmation of Israel’s advanced nuclear weapons program should have immediately triggered a cutoff in all U.S. aid to Israel under the Symington and Glenn Amendments to the US Foreign Assistance Act of 1961. Although 100 copies of the tightly-controlled report were apparently published, none seem to have made their way into the office of the President in time to cut off any of the $82 billion in aid subsequently delivered to Israel -- or publicly issue the required waivers. This is done in the case of other countries with weapons programs operating outside the Nuclear Non-Proliferation regime such as Pakistan.
Similarly, the U.S. did not move to curb as required Israel’s weapons-related work using the Soreq reactor, lab, and testing facilities -- provided by U.S. taxpayers in the late 1950’s under Eisenhower’s Atoms for Peace Program under the provision they not be used for weapons programs.
The lack American presidential of compliance -- right up to the present day -- with Symington and Glenn may be why the Pentagon fought to restrict release of the unclassified report in federal court, citing perpetual "nondisclosure agreements." In December the DoD insisted that only the Israeli government had final authority over its release, before finally throwing in the towel. (PDF)
On the eve of Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s visit to Congress and AIPAC to thwart a diplomatic deal over NNPT signer Iran’s civilian nuclear program, the report provides interesting reading to Americans tiring of U.S. government corruption on this important foreign aid law and the non-proliferation regime.