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Tuesday, November 07, 2006

U.S. Web Site With Iraqi Nuclear Data Remained Available After U.S. Scientists Complained

U.S. nuclear scientists warned the Bush administration more than two weeks ago that information posted on an official U.S. Web site provided detailed information about making nuclear weapons, the New York Times reported Saturday (see GSN, Nov. 3).

The site contained mostly Arabic-language documents confiscated from Iraq following the 2003 invasion. Some of the material described Iraqi efforts to build nuclear weapons prior to the 1991 Gulf War. The site was shut down Thursday after officials from the International Atomic Energy Agency complained and following calls from reporters, the Times reported.

Two weeks earlier, though, U.S. scientists at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California had urged the Energy Department to take down some of the material. Two documents were removed, according to the Times.

Those actions, however, were taken by midlevel bureaucrats, and top officials apparently were not notified.

The Livermore complaints “never perked up to senior management,” said one senior official.

Democrats in the U.S. Congress have called for an investigation and the Energy Department has promised to review the situation (William Broad, New York Times, Nov. 4).
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