IRmep

Institute for Research:
Middle Eastern Policy

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IRmep wins release of Pentagon report detailingaspects of Israel's nuclear weapons production facilities

UPDATED: February 10, 2015

IRmep filed a 34 page federal lawsuit (PDF) to compel the Department of Defense to release a report commissioned by the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (International Programs and Technology). After a fight that lasted from January of 2011 to February of 2015, IRmep finally won release of the report "Critical Technology Assessment in Israel and NATO Nations (PDF)

The report revealed that in 1987 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 US 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 – US 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 US did not move to curb as required Israel’s weapons-related work using the Soreq reactor, lab and testing facilities – provided by US 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 of 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 of 2014 the DoD insisted that only the Israeli government had final authority over its release, before finally throwing in the towel and releasing the sections of the report sought by IRmep.

LEGAL DOCUMENTS

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA

   
10/28/2014 IRmep Complaint (PDF)
11/19/2014 Department of Defense presents "NDA" tactic, requests more time. (PDF)
11/20/2014 IRmep cites DoD violations, refutes NDA tactic, seeks in camera review (PDF)
11/21/2014 Oral argument. Court gives DoD until 11/26 to respond (transcript)  (PDF)
12/19/2014 DoD drops NDA defense, seeks 3rd time extension to consult with Israel  (PDF)
12/26/2014 IRmep asks court to deny extension and conduct in camera review and release  (PDF)
01/05/2014 DoD responds that it does not oppose in camera review, Israel must review report (PDF)
01/07/2014 IRmep reponds DoD is acting in bad faith, that Israel not appropriate review party (PDF)
01/08/2014 Judge orders defendant to respond by February 12, if not will do in camera review.
02/10/2015 DoD releases unredacted section on Israel from report.
  Critical Technology Assessment in Israel and NATO Nations (PDF)



 

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