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Thursday, April 24, 2008

Israel gave US video of North Koreans inside Syrian reactor

The Washington Post reported Thursday morning that Israel gave the United States a video of North Korean technicians inside a Syrian nuclear reactor before Israel destroyed the reactor in September 2007. That video is to be shown to lawmakers as part of a presentation to be made to them on Thursday regarding the reactor.
A video taken inside a secret Syrian facility last summer convinced the Israeli government and the Bush administration that North Korea was helping to construct a reactor similar to one that produces plutonium for North Korea's nuclear arsenal, according to senior U.S. officials who said it would be shared with lawmakers today.

The officials said the video of the remote site, code-named Al Kibar by the Syrians, shows North Koreans inside. It played a pivotal role in Israel's decision to bomb the facility late at night last Sept. 6, a move that was publicly denounced by Damascus but not by Washington.

Sources familiar with the video say it also shows that the Syrian reactor core's design is the same as that of the North Korean reactor at Yongbyon, including a virtually identical configuration and number of holes for fuel rods. It shows "remarkable resemblances inside and out to Yongbyon," a U.S. intelligence official said. A nuclear weapons specialist called the video "very, very damning."

Nuclear weapons analysts and U.S. officials predicted that CIA Director Michael V. Hayden's planned disclosures to Capitol Hill could complicate U.S. efforts to improve relations with North Korea as a way to stop its nuclear weapons program. They come as factions inside the administration and in Congress have been battling over the merits of a nuclear-related deal with North Korea.

Syrian Ambassador Imad Moustapha yesterday angrily denounced the U.S. and Israeli assertions. "If they show a video, remember that the U.S. went to the U.N. Security Council and displayed evidence and images about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. I hope the American people will not be as gullible this time around," he said.

U.S. officials said that Israel shared the video with the United States before the Sept. 6 bombing, after Bush administration officials expressed skepticism last spring that the facility, visible by satellite since 2001, was a nuclear reactor built with North Korea's assistance. Israel has a nuclear weapons arsenal that it has never declared.

But beginning today, intelligence officials will tell members of the House and Senate intelligence, armed services and foreign relations committees that the Syrian facility was not yet fully operational and that there was no uranium for the reactor and no indication of fuel capability, according to U.S. officials and intelligence sources.
I believe that now I understand why Israel is really upset over this Congressional briefing. It has nothing to do with its potential to embarrass Assad. Someone took that video, and quite likely they took it out in the open. Israel is afraid of that intelligence source (and possibly others) in Syria being compromised. It would be a shame for Israel to lose intelligence sources because a bunch of Senators and Representatives have Bush Dementia Syndrome.


At 2:46 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

Let me get this right ... the US is about to disclose sources and methods of an ally in the fight against terror, terrorist enablers, and despotic dictatorships?

There is but one solution open to Israel. Pull their people out now, as the US is about to compromise them, and do not share any material with the US that could possibly indicate sources and methods.

Some ally we are to Israel. With friends like us ...


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