Tags: Russian | Nukes | Open | Penetration

Russian Nukes Open to Penetration

Saturday, 23 February 2002 12:00 AM

Moreover, thanks to lack of adequate funding for the safeguarding of the Russian nuclear arsenal, thieves have been able to steal an unknown amount of weapons-grade nuclear fuel over the last 10 years, the report reveals.

According to the Washington Times top intelligence expert Bill Gertz, the 12 page unclassified report to Congress from the National Intelligence Council - an analysis arm under CIA Director George J. Tenet - explained that Russian security measures are inadequate and outdated.

The report said that although "Russia employs physical, procedural, and technical measures to secure its weapons against an external threat ... many of these measures date from the Soviet era and are not designed to counter the pre-eminent threat faced today - an insider who attempts unauthorized actions."

Current warhead-security efforts are aimed at preventing threats "from outside the country," according to the report, and "may not be sufficient to meet today's challenge of a knowledgeable insider collaborating with a criminal or terrorist group."

The report takes on added significance as a result of Bush administration warnings that terrorists are attempting to develop nuclear, chemical and biological weapons, possibly using stolen nuclear material.

Noting that the report warned "... we are concerned about the total amount of material that could have been diverted over the last 10 years," Gertz wrote that it cited specific incidents of theft of nuclear materials including:

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said that since September 11 security has been increased at nuclear-weapons storage sites and that "terrorists have not acquired Russian nuclear weapons," the report said. It also revealed that security at Russia's nuclear-power plants has been increased as a result of Moscow's war against Chechnya.

The report warned however that "Even with the enhancements, security problems may still exist at the nuclear-weapons storage sites."

Gertz reported that "One Russian military officer told a Russian television station in August that security at warhead-storage facilities was lax, including personnel shortages and broken alarm systems."

The report, Gertz said, noted that United States is working with the Russian government to increase the safety and security of nuclear-related facilities, infrastructures and personnel.

"According to the report, Moscow currently has fewer than 5,000 strategic nuclear warheads, but will reduce its strategic forces to around 2,000 warheads because of funding problems and aging systems," Gertz wrote.

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Moreover, thanks to lack of adequate funding for the safeguarding of the Russian nuclear arsenal, thieves have been able to steal an unknown amount of weapons-grade nuclear fuel over the last 10 years, the report reveals. According to the Washington Times top intelligence...
Russian,Nukes,Open,Penetration
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2002-00-23
Saturday, 23 February 2002 12:00 AM
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