- WASHINGTON (AFP) - The State
Department on Friday denied there had been any change in US policy on the
use of nuclear weapons against states without nuclear weapons.
- Spokesman Richard Boucher said a report that Washington
had decided it was no longer bound to a 1978 pledge not to use nuclear
weapons against non-nuclear nations except under specific circumstances
- "This has been a very consistent policy for 20 or
30 years," he told reporters when asked about the report in the
Times that sourced its story to an interview it did with Under Secretary
of State for Arms Control John Bolton.
- "That's what Secretary Bolton was talking about
and there's no change," he said, after reviewing the 1978 policy.
"Everything I said has been said consistently for 20 or 30 years and
that remains the situation."
- The pledge made by former president Jimmy Carter's
which came to be known as the "negative security assurances,"
reflects "an unrealistic view of the international situation,"
the Times quoted Bolton as saying.
- "The idea that fine theories of deterrence work
against everybody, which is implicit in the negative security assurances,
has just been disproven by September 11," he said.
- "What we are attempting to do is create a situation
where nobody uses weapons of mass destruction of any kind," he
- In case of an attack against the United States "we
would have to do what is appropriate under the circumstances, and the
formulation of that is, we are not ruling anything in and we are not ruling
anything out," Bolton said.
- The promise made in 1978 by Carter's secretary of state
Cyrus Vance justified nuclear attacks on non-nuclear states only if such
countries attacked the United States in alliance or association with
- Boucher would not elaborate on Bolton's interview or
say why or how the Times got the idea that the old policy had been changed
but insisted that Bolton had only restated the existing policy to the
- "What Undersecretary Bolton was reiterating was
a policy that the United States government has had since the 1970s,"
he said. by Maxim Kniazkov Washington (AFP) Feb 23, 2002 An undetermined
amount of weapons-grade nuclear material has been stolen in post-Communist
Russia, heightening concerns that some of it could have ended up in the
wrong hands, the US intelligence community has concluded.
- The announcement comes amid warnings by top US officials
that Osama bin Laden and his al-Qaeda terrorist network have been making
a concerted effort to obtain the know-how and materials to manufacture
a crude nuclear or radiological device.
- "We also believe that bin Laden was seeking to
or develop a nuclear device," Central Intelligence Agency Director
George Tenet told Congress earlier this month. "Al-Qaeda may be
a radioactive dispersal device -- what some call a 'dirty
- In his testimony, the CIA director refrained from
where al-Qaeda operatives could be shopping for such technology.
- But the National Intelligence Council, in its annual
report to Congress, made public late Friday, gave a strong warning that
despite foreign assistance and its own efforts to heighten security, Russia
still represents a serious nuclear proliferation risk.
- "Weapons-grade and weapons-usable nuclear materials
have been stolen from some Russian institutes," said the council,
the collective analytical think tank for the 13 agencies that make up the
US intelligence community.
- "We assess that undetected smuggling has occurred,
although we do not know the extent or magnitude of such thefts," the
report said. "Nevertheless, we are concerned about the total amount
of material that could have been diverted over the last 10
- A total of 23 attempts to steal fissile materials, which
can be found in Russia in more than 300 buildings at over 40 locations
across the country, were uncovered and thwarted by Russian authorities
between 1991 and 1999, according to the document.
- The problem remains how many smugglers made off with
particles of plutonium or enriched uranium -- a hot commodity on the black
market -- without being detected.
- "Russian facilities housing nuclear materials
receive low funding, lack trained security personnel, and do not have
equipment for securely storing nuclear materials," the council
- The documented cases of nuclear theft in Russia include
the disappearance of 1.5 kilograms (3.3 pounds) of 90-percent-enriched
weapons-grade uranium from the Luch Production Association in 1992.
- In 1994, according to the council, three kilograms (6.6
pounds) of weapons-grade uranium were stolen in Moscow.
- Four years later, there was a hair-raising incident at
an unnamed nuclear facility in the Chelyabinsk region, in the Ural
where according to Viktor Yerastov, a top official at the Russian Atomic
Energy Ministry, the amount stolen was "quite sufficient ... to
an atomic bomb."
- While admitting that US intelligence could not
confirm the theft, the National Intelligence Council said the Chelyabinsk
case was "of concern."
- Four grams (0.14 ounces) of weapons-usable enriched
that "likely originated in Russia" was seized in Bulgaria.
- Even sites storing nuclear weapons, which are surrounded
by layers of security, cannot be seen as problem-free because of drug and
discipline problems among the servicemen, and their low pay, the report
- In May 2000, two students at a training center that
guards for nuclear weapons facilities were expelled because they had failed
their drug tests.
- That same month, the Russian Defense Ministry started
using officers instead of enlisted men for guard duty while transporting
nuclear warheads because of seven incidents in just one month when sentries
had left their posts.
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