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AFP: US posted Iraqi nuclear bomb documents on Internet
Friday 3 November 2006

Fri Nov 3 -

WASHINGTON (AFP) - The US government posted on the Internet Iraqi
documents that explain how to build a nuclear bomb.

A New York Times website report said that officials from the
International Atomic Energy Agency " had complained to US
officials last week about the postings of "roughly a dozen"
documents from "Iraq’s pre-1991 nuclear research" that
contained diagrams, equations and other details for making a
nuclear bomb.

The Times cited experts who said the documents "constitute a
basic guide to building an atom bomb."

One of the documents, running to 51 pages, covered the technical
advances of Iraqs early nuclear program, including 18 pages on
the development of its bomb design.

The US government posted the bomb-related documents on a website
set up last March to make available to the public a huge archive
of Iraqi government papers, hoping that the public would help
sift through the archive for useful information government
translators did not have time to search for.

The Times said that earlier in the year UN arms control
officials had complained about documents on the website that had
information on producing extremely dangerous nerve agents sarin
and tabun.

The Times added that the website, called the "Operation Iraqi
Freedom Document Portal", was shut down Thursday after the
newspaper made enquiries about the nuclear-related documents.

Chad Kolton, spokesman for US Director of National Intelligence
John Negroponte, told the newspaper in a statement that "while
strict criteria had already been established to govern posted
documents, the material currently on the website, as well as the
procedures used to post new documents, will be carefully
reviewed before the site becomes available again."

The Department of Defense " /> set up the "Operation Iraqi
Freedom Document Portal" last March under pressure from
legislators to find a way to sort quickly through some 48,000
boxes of mostly Arabic documents seized in the 2003 invasion of
Iraq.

The idea was to let the public help in reading and translating
the documents, with hopes that they might shed light on matters
such as deposed Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein " /> ’s weapons
programs.

While many of the documents have proven innocuous, the Times said
the nuclear documents were identical to papers presented to the
UN Security Council in 2002 in the leadup to the US invasion.

However, the documents the Security Council saw were heavily
edited to mask "sensitive information on unconventional arms,"
the newspaper said.

It added that a senior diplomat in Europe called the documents a
"cookbook" for making a bomb.

"If you had this, it would short-circuit a lot of things," the
diplomat said.

Peter Zimmerman, a physicist and arms scientist at King’s
College, London, said the documents were "very sensitive".

However, the United States appeared to have ignored warnings
about dangerous documents surfacing on the website.

In June, the Times said, Demetrius Perricos, the acting chief
weapons inspector of the Monitoring, Verification and Inspection
Commission, complained to the Security Council about the
appearance of risky arms information on a public website.

Nevertheless, the nuclear bomb papers were posted on the site in
September.


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