Tags: Clinton | White | House | Knew | Korean | Nuclear | Cheating

Clinton White House Knew of N. Korean Nuclear Cheating

Monday, 13 September 2004 12:00 AM

The team was led by Dimitri Perricos, a senior assistant to then IAEA Director-General Dr. Hans Blix.

The purpose of the Perricos visit was to begin the process of cataloging the equipment and materials at the site that were to be frozen under the agreement with the U.S.

What Perricos found – or didn't find – raised serious concerns within weeks of the U.S.-Korean agreement.

The White House was concerned about North Korea's construction of a massive, 50-megawatt nuclear reactor.

Though Pyongyang insisted that the reactor was destined for "civilian" energy purposes, the CIA was convinced the reactor's main purpose was to build atomic bombs.

Almost 10 times the size of the old Soviet-designed research reactor already in operation, the new reactor could produce enough bomb-grade material for 20 or more medium-size nuclear warheads a year, so said the CIA.

Under the Agreed Framework, work was to be halted and the reactor eventually dismantled.

The IAEA had internal assessments in 1994 that stated the reactor could be up and running within six months. But when Perricos and his team arrived at the Yongbyon nuclear center, to their surprise there was little left at the new reactor site but an empty foundation and the uncompleted superstructure.

In a recent interview, Perricos told this reporter that the North Koreans explained the surprise finding by telling the IAEA that since an agreement with the U.S. was imminent, they had suspended all work on the new reactor many months earlier.

Perricos had his doubts about the North Korean explanation, especially since he saw a series of newly built underground tunnels running from Yongbyon out to a nearby mountain range.

"These tunnels were large enough for trucks to pass through ... trucks that could have carried a disassembled nuclear reactor," he said.

The North Koreans insisted the tunnels led to underground bunkers to be used by their officials and scientists in the event of war.

All of the findings were included in a formal report to the IAEA's Board of Governors in late fall of 1994.

A copy of the report was forwarded to the State Department.

Joel Witt, a member of the Clinton administration's North Korean negotiating team, received the IAEA report.

What Witt did with the report became the focus of a NewsMax investigation.

Robert Gallucci (now a dean at Georgetown University) directed negotiations with the North Koreans for the White House.

He was also the architect of the 1994 Agreed Framework.

It was Gallucci's job to sell the agreement to Capitol Hill.

Gallucci, in an interview, insisted he never saw the Perricos-IAEA report, and because he never saw the report he never mentioned it during his Capitol Hill hearings.

Those hearings were led by Rep. Benjamin Gilman, R-N.Y., who chaired the House International Relations Committee.

In an interview with NewsMax, Gilman insisted the IAEA report was news to him. "We never knew of the IAEA report. ... [I]f we did, I doubt that we would have approved the agreement."

Coincidentally, Gilman repeatedly charged the Clinton White House with being "less than candid" on U.S. dealings with North Korea.

Gilman also claimed that Pyongyang had been cheating "since day one."

The White House, led by Madeleine K. Albright, repeatedly refuted Gilman.

Now Albright has reversed herself.

Meanwhile, NewsMax learned that the IAEA report received by Witt at the State Department was in fact forwarded to Secretary of Defense Bill Perry rather than Gallucci, to whom it should have been sent.

It was Perry who made the call to keep the report from Gallucci.

Why?

If Gallucci had seen the report, most likely it would have been discussed at the upcoming congressional hearing.

Should the questions raised by Perricos been forwarded to the Hill, most likely any agreement with the North Koreans would have been seriously stalled if not killed.

Perry was not available for comment.

Witt has since left the State Department and now works for a Washington, D.C., think tank.

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The team was led by Dimitri Perricos, a senior assistant to then IAEA Director-General Dr. Hans Blix. The purpose of the Perricos visit was to begin the process of cataloging the equipment and materials at the site that were to be frozen under the agreement with the...
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Monday, 13 September 2004 12:00 AM
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