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The Nuclear Materials and Equipment Corporation (NUMEC) and the diversion of US government weapons-grade uranium to Israel

"an Israeli operation from the beginning..." CIA Tel Aviv Station Chief John Hadden

"NUMEC material had been diverted by the Israelis and used in fabricating weapons." CIA Directorate of Science and Technology Deputy Director Carl Duckett


On September 10, 1968 NUMEC receives a key coordinator of Israel's clandestine nuclear weapons program
(Avraham Hermoni) and three undercover Israeli intelligence operatives.  NUMEC tells the Atomic Energy
Commission the Israeli visitors are "energy specialists."



Since the mid-1960s law enforcement and regulatory agencies suspected a small nuclear processing facility in Pennsylvania had illegally diverted U.S. government-owned weapons-grade nuclear material into Israel's clandestine nuclear weapons program.  The Nuclear Materials and Equipment Corporation received start-up capital organized by a mysterious former smuggler with deep and ongoing ties to Israeli intelligence.  FBI investigations revealed NUMEC President Zalman Mordecai Shapiro also had repeated unexplained interactions with Israeli intelligence and organized a joint venture with the primary front organization of the Israeli nuclear weapons program.  According to a 2001 US Department of Energy report, NUMEC still holds the record for the highest losses of bomb-grade material of any plant in the United States. 

In April 1976 Attorney General Edward Levi ordered the FBI to reopen an investigation into Dr. Zalman Shapiro and the Nuclear Materials and Equipment Corporation (NUMEC). The newly reopened investigation looked beyond violations of the Atomic Energy Act. The FBI's new mandate was to also uncover "any attempt by anyone in the executive branch to prevent or impede an investigation into this alleged diversion, or to withhold any information regarding this alleged diversion from any investigative body." The FBI code-named its investigation "DIVERT." The FBI interrogated high-level officials from U.S. government agencies and NUMEC employee eyewitnesses to nuclear diversion.  Inexplicably, on January 23, 1981 the FBI placed the NUMEC investigation into "closed status" until further instructions from the Department of Justice.  Field offices were ordered not to destroy files without instructions from FBI headquarters.  The NUMEC investigation portfolio, which had passed from LBJ, to Nixon, and on to Ford was closed at the end of the Carter administration.

Document/PDF Contents
Articles of Incorporation
Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
490 KB, 8 pages
NUMEC is incorporated on December 31, 1956 in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania by Zalman M. Shapiro (Nautilus nuclear submarine program chemist, Zionist Organization of America Pennsylvania chapter president), Leonard Pepkowtiz (Manhattan Project weapons physicist) and Frederick Foerscher.
Articles of Merger
Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
219 KB, 25 pages
Apollo Industries holding company created on March 1, 1958 out of merger of three defunct companies: Apollo Steel Company, American Nut and Bolt Fastener Company and San Toy Mining Company.  Apollo Industry directors included Ivan J. Novick (future ZOA president) ,David Lowenthal (refugee smuggler who also fought in Israel), Zalman Shapiro (NUMEC president, ZOA chapter president), and Elliott W. Finkel (former DOJ attorney dismissed over conflicts of interest).
Nuclear Materials and Equipment Corporation
6.1 MB, 62 pages
Company calendar listing NUMEC's services.
11031966_AEC_FBI_NUMEC_Activity.pdf John Vinciguerra of the Atomic Energy Agency provides a list of all NUMEC contracts with foreign governments as part of a Foreign Agent Registration Act and congressional review.
135 KB, 2 pages
The Atomic Energy Commission gives Atlantic Richfield at $30 million/year contract to manage Hanford facilities if it buys and takes over NUMEC. Pages extracted from cost-plus operating contract.
04021968_Helms_Clark Director of Central Intelligence Agency memo to Attorney General Ramsey Clark.  "You are well aware of the great concern which exists at the highest levels of this Government with regard to the proliferation of nuclear weapons...It is critical for us to establish whether or not the Israelis now have the capability of fabricating nuclear weapons which might be employed in the Near East...I urge that the Federal Bureau of Investigation be called upon to initiate a discreet intelligence investigation of all source nature of Dr. Shapiro in order to establish the nature and extent of his relationship with the Government of Israel." Release letter.
1091168-000-117-2564  Section 1
2.2 MB,  45 pages

Section 1 - Zalman Shapiro investigated by the FBI for potential Foreign Agents Registration Act after 61 kilograms of U-235 are discovered missing from the Nuclear Materials and Equipment Corporation.  FBI establishes surveillance of Shapiro in 1968.  Nature of David Lowenthal's relationship and financing of NUMEC discovered. David Lowenthal observed in photos "shaking hands with Ben-Gurion and Moshe Dayan" and "reportedly fought for Israel as a freedom fighter in 1956 and travels to Israel on the average of approximately once per month." NUMEC's founders, security clearances, shipment of 320 grams of plutonium to Israel  in 1963, censored files.

1091168-000-117-2564  Section 2
728 KB, 11 pages
On September 6, 1968, the US attorney general requests investigation "whether the subject is acting as an agent of the Israeli Government."  September 6, 1968 NUMEC request for visit of Avraham Hermoni (Israeli nuclear weapons chief), Ephraim Biegun, Avraham Bendor, and Rafael Eitan (founder of LAKAM economic espionage network).  The intelligence operatives enter under the cover of being "thermo electric generator specialists."
1091168-000-117-2564  Section 3
35 KB,  1 page
Censored content.
1091168-000-117-2564  Section 1 (830179)
3.2 MB, 56 pages
FBI initiates physical and wiretap surveillance of Zalman Shapiro on November 5, 1968.  "We are investigating Shapiro to determine extent of his relations with Israeli government.  As head of Nuclear Materials and Equipment Corporation, Apollo, Pennsylvania, which processes uranium-235 for nuclear reactors, Shapiro has access to atomic energy material which could be most helpful to the Israelis...subject has been in contact on two occasions with Dr. Avraham Hermoni, Scientific Counselor, Israeli Embassy, Washington D.C., and Israeli intelligence agent.  Source has also disclosed contacts with a senior official of Israeli military intelligence, individuals associated with Israeli Atomic Energy Commission and member of Israeli Internal Security Service...he is considering settling permanently in that country and, if necessary, would fight for Israel..."  "Investigation has further disclosed that subject and others involved in instant case, in addition to holding top positions in their respective fields, are very active and highly regarded in various Jewish organizations which exert some influence in this country...." "It is considered opinion of person familiar with this case that an interview with subject and/or others intimately involved in this case would develop very little pertinent information..."  "Attorney General under date of 3/28/1969 approved our request for continuation of Electronic Surveillance for a period of three months effective 4/1/1969. Wiretap summaries. Atomic Energy Commission interview of Shapiro on August 14, 1969.  Discussion of 1968 Hermoni meeting in Shapiro's home, clandestine Shapiro meeting with Israeli intelligence agent in Pittsburgh airport. "Only when we confronted with the fact that we were aware of the meeting did he admit to such a meeting had taken place and his explanation that the purpose of the meeting had been to discuss payment of a bill and other commercial matters did not appear to be completely candid..."
362 KB,  11 pages
May 5, 1969 FBI wiretap of a radioactive spill at NUMEC caused by improper storage. 

"9:18 p.m.: CENSORED reported on a spillage at the plant. They have the area roped off and it will take some pick and shovel work to dig up the contaminated areas. CENSORED said they are getting 100,000 counts. CENSORED said, �Oh, God.� They are dampening it down to avoid dust and will cover it if it looks like it may rain. CENSORED asked if there is anything on AAI? � 

9:20 p.m.: CENSORED said that he heard that American Instrument Company [is] up for sale. He said he heard this from the former sales manager."

A phone call placed just two minutes after the first confirms that:

"it�s not only a bad spill but �actually they are operating outside compliance.� They had the drums all together. They have about 200 drums and estimate that about six a day will corrode through. The trouble lay with a fluoride which was put in to help the decay, and this was not checked. CENSORED said they are also about $230,000 over on their construction costs for the scrap plant. Z [Zalman Shapiro] said if they could get other people, there would be a lot of firing."

1091168-000-117-2564  Section 4
6.3 MB, 95 pages
January 20, 1969 FBI report on Shapiro meetings with Hermoni to coordinate a plutonium purchase, Shapiro requests to AEC about availability of plutonium (does not mention Israel as destination). AEC Commission Glenn Seaborg approves sales "Criticality is the only concern in terms of the amount of plutonium 238 that can be used in any particular device."  Details of NUMEC trying to obtain US government equipment for free by falsely claiming it is contaminated. Zalman Shapiro discusses settling in Israel.  NUMEC discovered to be an agent of the Israeli Ministry of Defense, and have a joint venture with the Israeli Atomic Energy Commission, the cover organization for Israel's nuclear weapons program.  Shapiro concerned US will not sell fighter jets to Israel.  FBI source speculates that U-235 could have been shipped to Israel within food irradiator units with "no questions asked." NUMEC catalog of irradiators. In February of 1969, FBI reviews NUMEC's classified contracts with the US government.  NUMEC attempts to hire AEC or "other government agencies" employees.  Secret Service warned on February 18, 1969 that Shapiro "under active investigation as member of other group or organization inimical to the U.S." February 16, 1968 report of Shapiro hosting a meeting in his home "with Avraham Hermoni, Scientific Counselor, Israeli Embassy, and ten other men who have special skills and knowledge  in scientific and technical fields on 11/4/1968. This meeting was held to assist Hermoni in gathering necessary data in these areas for Israel." Shapiro discusses obtaining plutonium 238 with Colonel Avraham Eylonie. Shapiro meets with Israeli defense minister at the Israeli embassy on November 26, 1969 before leaving for Israel between November 28 and December 12, 1968. Profiles of NUMEC executives.  Summary of 1965 Foreign Agents Registration Act investigation of Shapiro.  June 21, 1966 FBI interview of Shapiro.  NUMEC employee interviews
1091168-000-117-2564  Section 5
3.1 MB, 39 pages
Zalman Shapiro listed in "Security Index" because he "continues to solicit information of Israeli scientific [censored] personnel."   NUMEC selected in 1964 to run "free world's only full-scale production boron isotope facility" in Niagara [Lewiston], NY.   Shapiro assisting in a secret converter "British Project." Supermarket advertiser Frank Noll writes "Dr. X" story about Shapiro working in Israeli nuclear weapons program.
Nixon Presidential Library
973 KB, 18 pages
July, 1969 Henry Kissinger strategy document about what stance to take about the Israeli nuclear weapons program.  "There is circumstantial evidence that some fissionable material available for Israel's weapons development was illegally obtained from the United States by about 1965."  Justification for "ambiguity" stance.
1091168-000-117-2564  Section 6
1 MB, 26 pages
Illegible files.  September 3, 1969 FBI director memo to AEC and DOJ about August 1969 AEC interview of Zalman Shapiro. "The basis of the security risk posed by the subject lies in his continuing access to sensitive information and material and it is believed that the effective way to counter this risk would be to preclude Shapiro from such access, specifically by terminating his classified contracts and lifting his security clearances.  AEC security statement that Shapiro has "knowingly established an association with individuals reliably reported as suspected of espionage."  "It was reported in 1961 that Dr. Abraham Hermoni was a member of the Israeli Intelligence Service; that in 1963 Dr. Hermoni was known to be engaged in the establishment of a technical intelligence network in the United States, and that prior to his assignment as Scientific Counselor of the Israeli Embassy, Washington, D.C. he was intimately connected with Israeli efforts to develop nuclear weapons in his capacity as Technical Director, Armament Development Authority, Ministry of Defense." On November 4, 1970, the FBI notes that Shapiro has taken a job at Kawecki Berylco Industries, and "holds a 'Secret' clearance which was transferred to that facility by the Defense Supply Agency..."  Note "Shapiro has been alleged to have furnished information to Israeli Government in the past regarding nuclear developments via Israeli Embassy officials interested in this field for the benefit of Israeli defense efforts.  He is carried on the Security Index by Pittsburgh due to his activities.  He has recently acquired a new and sensitive position with a nuclear development company in Pennsylvania...classified 'Secret' since it sets forth information from [censored] Army communications similarly classified."
Gerald Ford Presidential Library
332 KB, 6 pages

09031969_FBI_v2, 2 pages, less redaction Release letter

September 3, 1969 FBI Director memo to CIA Director.  "The basis of the security risk posed by the subject lies in his continuing access to sensitive information and material and it is believed the only effective way to counter this risk would be to preclude Shapiro from access, specifically by terminating his classified contracts and lifting his security clearances..."
1091168-000-117-2564  Section 7
5.9 MB,  136 pages
FBI interviews Kanwecki Berylco Industry executive on March 4, 1971 about Zalman Shapiro's attempts to obtain classified information  without proper security clearance. Joint Committee on Atomic Energy attempts to obtain FBI files "concerning Shapiro or any of his associates or acquaintances who could be involved in intelligence or diversion of nuclear material activities on behalf of a foreign government." in May of 1976.  FBI offers a summary, but states that attorney general would have to approve file release.  April 22, 1976 summary of FBI investigations of NUMEC for special nuclear materials loss.  On May 14, 1976 US attorney general orders an FBI investigation "be conducted to determine whether or not a diversion of nuclear material had occurred at the Nuclear Materials and Equipment Corporation (NUMEC), Apollo, Pennsylvania, partially owned and operated by the subject, and if this diversion had been to the benefit of the Government of Israel" and "Obstruction of Justice."  Attorney General provides list of Atomic Energy Commission executives to interview.  Fully and partially censored FBI interview records.  1976 investigation captioned "DIVERT."  List of NUMEC executives to interview.
03091972_FBI March 9, 1972 FBI memo titled "Possible Diversion of Weapons Grade Nuclear Materials to Israel by Officials of the Nuclear Materials and Equipment Corporation (NUMEC).  "On the basis of the foregoing it must be assumed for the purpose of U.S. national security that diversion of special nuclear meterials to Israel by Dr. Shapiro and his associates is a distinct possibility.." "Lead coated or nickel plated, it would present no radiation hazard and could have easily gone by diplomatic pouch or Israel merchant ship or even El Al Airlines.  Transportation of diverted material to Israel would have been a simple matter." Release letter
FBI_Doc_672_Martin_Task_Force_12_7_78.pdf Departmental Attorney John L. Martin, Criminal Division tells the FBI he is leading a "three man Task Force organized by the Criminal Division pertaining to alegations of cover-ups by Governmental Agencies in the NUMEC case."
03111976_DCI_Duckett Memo to the Director of Central Intelligence from Carl E. Duckett, Deputy Director for Science and Technology - Subject "Nuclear Materials and Equipment Corporation (NUMEC)."  "Since the Agency was looking at this case from the point of view of obtaining information on the nuclear intelligence capability of a foreign government we did not make a concentrated effort to follow this case from the standpoint of its domestic implications subsequent to the time of the attached memorandum." Release letter
01221976_Levi_memo_to_ford Memorandum to President Gerald Ford from Attorney General Griffen Bell. "...the following criminal statutes may be involved;
42 U.S.C. 2077 - Unauthorized dealings in special nuclear material
42 U.S.C. 2273 - Violation of Atomic Energy Act generally, or of agency regulations
42 U.S.C. 2276 - Tampering with Restricted Data
42 U.S.C. 2275 Receipt of Restricted Data
42 U.S.C. 2277 - Disclosure of Restricted Data
18 U.S.C. 832-834 - Transportation of dangerous articles
18 U.S.C. 793-794 - Espionage: gathering or transmittal of defense information
18 U.S.C. 3 - Accessory after the fact
18 U.S.C. 4 - Misprision of felony
18 U.S.C. 371 - Conspiracy to commit offense
07281977_NSC_Shackley Israel and MUF [Materials Unaccounted For] July 28, 1977, National Security Council summary of a briefing by CIA's Associate Deputy Director for Operations Theodore Shackley. "I also asked Shackley to get us a rundown on the political aspects�e.g. when were the President and Congressional officials briefed on the Israeli weapons program, on the NUMEC connection, and what were their reactions. In December, Carter was briefed on the NUMEC problem as President-elect by Bush in Georgia...I do not think the President has plausible deniability. The CIA case is persuasive..." Release letter
07291977_Brzezinski July 29, 1977 Action memorandum for Zbigniew Brzezinski "Congressman John Dingell (D., Mich) called to report in very indignant tones that he is 'troubled' about investigations of Materials Unaccounted For (MUF)..." Release letter
08021977_MUF August 2, 1977 Memo to President Carter from Zbigniew Brzezinski: "So far as we know however, (and we have made serious effort to discover it) there is nothing to indicate active CIA participation in the alleged theft...There is a tremendous amount of interest in this issue in Congress...We face tough sledding in the next few weeks in trying to keep attention focused on ERDA's technical [overall U.S. nuclear material loss] arguments...on the FBI investigations, and away from the CIA's information." Plus AEC Licenses summary .  Release letter
11031978_Duckett_Meeting November 3, 1978 Jessica Tuchman Mathews letter to David Aaron.  "So far as we know (though there are still lingering suspicions) there is nothing to indicate active CIA participation in the alleged theft." Release letter
11201978_AG_Memo November 20, 1978 Request to the attorney general for assistance to the National Security Council in a briefing about "possible diversion of nuclear material from the NUMEC plant in Apollo, Pennsylvania." 11/06/1978 request for permission letter.  Release letter
Jimmy Carter Presidential Library
146 KB, 2 pages
December 7, 1977 Memo to Zbigniew Brezinski about Congressional investigation of NUMEC.  "Dingell's pursuit of the question of whether the CIA withheld information from other agencies strikes me as potentially dangerous..."
1091168-000-117-2564  Section 8
625 KB, 8 pages
June 27, 1977 FBI interview of Zalman Shapiro.  "..Shapiro voiced certain reservations relative to its purpose and was concerned that display of the form implied certain unlawful acts on his part."  "Shapiro emphasized that the matter of significant diversion of special nuclear material at NUMEC was out of the question and added that Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) officials had, in fact, assured him personally that NUMEC MUF compared favorably with MUF experienced throughout the rest of the industry."
Inquiry into the Testimony of the Executive Director for Operations
Nuclear Regulatory Commission

Page accidently released to NRDC
3.5 MB, 3 pages
Classified summary of CIA Directorate of Operations briefing to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission about NUMEC diversion accidentally released to the Natural Resources Defense Council.  "Mr. Duckett raised the question of whether the U.S. had intentiona1ly allowed material to go to Israel. He said that if any such scheme was under consideration, he would have known about it and he never heard so much as a rumor about this.  He, therefore, does not believe there is any substance to this allegation. In support of this view, he related that CIA had drafted a National Intelligence Estimate on Israel's nuclear capability in 1968.  It it was the conclusion that the Israelis had nuclear weapons.  He showed it to Mr. Helms.  Helms told him not to publish it and he would take it up with President Johnson.  Mr. Helms later related that he had spoken to the president, that the President was concerned, and that he had said, 'Don't tell anyone else, even Dean Rusk and Robert McNamara."
Glenn T. Seaborg Papers
Library of Congress
482 KB, 1 page
Glenn Seaborg office diary.  On June 21, 1978 Department of Energy investigators Bill Knauf and Jim Anderson visit former Atomic Energy Commissioner Glenn T. Seaborg.  They tell Seaborg that traces of Portsmouth U-235 (the government-owned material primarily delivered to NUMEC for processing into fuel) had been picked up in Israel.  On March 3, 1979 Seaborg refuses to be interviewed by FBI investigators.
Archive A 1978 General Accounting Office study concludes that the US government never credibly investigated the NUMEC diversion and documents FBI and CIA refusal to cooperate..
Morris K. Udall Papers at the University of Arizona
4.2 MB, 119 pages
Transcript of December 21, 1978 Congressional Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs interview of Zalman Shapiro.

"We know now that as far back as 1966, at least one staff member of the Joint Committee on Atomic Energy questioned the propriety of then AEC Chairman Seaborg having testified that he thought that " there has not been any material diverted from peaceful to military uses." We know also that in December 1971, William Riley, former director of AEC security, wrote in a memorandum that Dr. Shapiro reported to Riley that he (Dr. Shapiro) had been told by officials of the government of Israel that an unnamed AEC Commissioner had suggested to representatives of a foreign government that Dr. Shapiro had been involved in diversion of materials to the Israelis..."

3.4 MB, 131 pages
1977-1978 CIA files obtained via a FOIA lawsuit on August 31, 2015.  The files detail a CIA cover-up that began in 1968 when the agency withheld overseas agent information from the FBI and other federal agencies about the diversion.
Jimmy Carter Presidential Library
145 KB, 3 pages
Confidential letter from Deputy Attorney General Benjamin Civiletti to President Jimmy Carter about how after the GAO report about NUMEC the US would "establish a plan for coordinated interagency action to detect and investigate the theft or diversion of nuclear material in the future."
6 MB, 19 pages
Status report on "NUMEC, Shapiro, etc" from Science Advisor of the Interior Commission Henry Meyers to congressman Morris K. Udall.  "That they picked up on the statement about the NUMEC design while failing to complain about CIA conclusions about a diversion is indicative of extreme sensitivity to any suggestion that NUMEC's purpose from the beginning had been to provide Israel high enriched uranium.
564 KB, 11 pages
CIA Deputy Director for Operations John H. Stein's secret decision in 1979 that releasing NUMEC files was impossible "because of the need to have a coordinated Executive Branch position and our desire to protect a sensitive and valuable liaison equity."

Stein referred to with Science Advisor of the Interior Commission Henry Meyer's blunt allegations (below) to Congressman Morris Udall in 1979 that NUMEC was just another Israeli smuggling front.

Jimmy Carter Presidential Library
107 KB, 2 pages
Staffer Jerry Oplinger asks National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brezinski for permission to show Senator John Glenn a top secret memorandum about "missing material from the NUMEC plant in Apollo, PA."  Brezinski formally disapproves, telling Oplinger to "Brief him [Senator Glenn] orally."
1091168-000-117-2564  Section 10
3.9 MB, 54 pages
March 28, 1980 interviews with NRC officials reveal a former NUMEC employee eyewitness to diversion.  FBI NUMEC truck driver interview. FBI NUMEC shipping clerk interview.  March 24, 1980 FBI Ammonator interview. "he then noticed the NUMEC owner, Dr. Zalman Shapiro, pacing around the loading dock while [censored] (shipping and receiving foreman) and [censored] (truck driver for NUMEC) were loading 'stove pipes' into the steel cabinet type equipment that he observed on the truck...the 'stove pipes' are cylindrical storage containers used to store canisters of high enriched materials in the vaults located at the Apollo nuclear facility...the 'stove pipes' contained three or four canisters which were described as highly polished aluminum with standard printed square yellow labels, approximately three inches in diameter by six inches tall, that normally were used to store high enriched uranium products...defined as 95 percent uranium." January 15, 1981 former NUMEC employee interview.
The National Archives releases 250 pages of Carter administration files about NUMEC on January 23, 2013 including:

1. 4/25/1979 Attorney General memo that the Internal Security Section "completed a detailed review of thousands of CIA documents..." necessitating further FBI investigations. (p. 1)
2. 4/17/1979 Deputy AG memo that "the CIA had a substantial number of documents of relevance to this case." (p. 3)
3. 6/28/1978 Howard Baker Jr. Letter notifying Attorney General that the "CIA provided..recently discovered classified file ...extremely significant and previously unknown to me." (p. 7)
4. Withdrawal sheets of sensitive material made at the request of the Justice Department in 2012, including a letter from President Jimmy Carter.
5. Inclusion in the NUMEC case file of an argument from the Commonwealth Edison Company of Illinois (CECO) that it should not be criminally prosecuted for safeguards issues because of harm to civilian industry. Benchmark reference. (pp 24-33)
6. Withdrawal sheet notice of a four-page FBI communication titled "Zalman Mordecai Shapiro; Atomic Energy Act; Obstruction of justice" (p.80)
7. GAO report titled "Review of Accountability Controls Over Special Nuclear Materials, Nuclear Materials and Equipment Corporation," Report to Joint Committee on Atomic Energy by the Comptroller General of the United States, June 1967. The GAO could not obtain this report for release after a request was made in 2011. (p. 143)
8. Special Assistant to the AG letter indicating DOJ would not cooperate with a 1977-1978 GAO investigation because "NUMEC investigation is still active and thus we cannot provide documentary material from our files." (p. 222)
09272019_CIA_FOIA_request_F_2019_01414.pdf CIA profile of Rafael Eitan released in 2019 that redacts NUMEC from the chronology.
Archive Zalman Shapiro seeks exoneration from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission assisted by Arnold & Porter (Israel's longest registered foreign agent law firm in Washington, DC) with assistance from Senator Arlen Specter.  The NRC refuses to clear Shapiro or NUMEC over the U-235 losses.
Books   Books 

Stealing the Atom Bomb: How Denial and Deception Armed Israel by Roger J. Mattson

In the mid 1960s, hundreds of kilograms of highly enriched uranium went missing from a nuclear fuel manufacturing plant called NUMEC in Apollo, PA. From the time the Atomic Energy Commission first discovered that significant amounts of this atom-bomb-making material were missing, there was a concern that it went to Israel because of the connection between the plant�s owners and Israeli nuclear and intelligence officials. Because of the enormously high stakes involved, denial and deception have clouded the affair for half a century. Although the AEC, its successor agency the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the FBI, the CIA, the Congressional Joint Committee on Atomic Energy, the General Accounting Office, the National Security Council, the Defense Intelligence Agency, two committees of the U.S. House of Representatives and four presidential administrations purported to investigate what became of the uranium, they never found it. They all acknowledged that the material might have made its way to Israel, and some in high position were certain it went there, but, until recently, proof was veiled in secrecy. This book brings together for the first time recently discovered personal papers of the lead CIA agent, recently declassified files of NRC, GAO, FBI and CIA, and interviews of U.S. government investigators. The author is an engineer who led a 1977 NRC investigation of the affair that was thwarted by unwarranted secrecy and interagency bumbling. This book culminates years of research to get at the facts and set the record straight. Paperback

Divert!: NUMEC, Zalman Shapiro and the diversion of US weapons grade uranium into the Israeli nuclear weapons program by Grant F. Smith

Based on an exhaustive review of formerly classified government documents-as well as previously unexplored corporate filings, office diaries and unguarded interviews-Grant F. Smith has written a riveting story of the 1960s diversion of US weapons-grade nuclear material from an Israeli front company in Pennsylvania into the clandestine Israeli atomic weapons program. The talented but highly conflicted founder of the Nuclear Materials and Equipment Corporation (NUMEC)-Dr. Zalman Mordecai Shapiro alongside his close friend and financial backer David Lowenthal-engaged in a ferocious clandestine drive to funnel the most valuable military material on earth that forever tilted the balance of power between Israel and the world. Divert! chronicles Zalman Shapiro's journey from crafting ingenious innovations for the Nautilus nuclear submarine in the 1950s to his costly pursuit of America's most advanced hydrogen bomb designs in the 1970s. Tasked during secret summits with high-level Israeli intelligence agents, guided by Israel's top nuclear arms designers, and defended by Israel and its US lobby, Shapiro and NUMEC drove the CIA and FBI from furious outrage to despair. Presidents from LBJ to Jimmy Carter secretly grappled with how to respond to Israel's brazen theft of American nuclear material before finally deciding to bury the entire affair in classified files. But NUMEC's toxic secrets have refused to be buried alive. Newly declassified wiretaps have risen from the grave, detailing Shapiro's utter contempt for worker and nuclear safety. David Lowenthal's role as an international refugee smuggler between the US, Europe and Israel-before organizing financing for NUMEC-is placed under new scrutiny. This explosive story emerges even as the US Army Corps of Engineers struggles to quietly clean NUMEC's toxic waste near Apollo, Pennsylvania with $170 million in taxpayer funding. At a time when America is coming under intense pressure to attack on the mere suspicion that Iran is diverting nuclear material, Divert! stands as the ultimate cautionary tale of how US Middle East policy is continually undermined from within by corruption, immunity, deceit and unwarranted secrecy. Paperback and Kindle. 
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