Compromising nuclear secrets—it’s deja-vu

The revelation that Donald Trump had stored in Mar-a-Lago Top Secret Sensitive Compartmented Information/Special Access Program (TS/SCI/SAP) documents on foreign nuclear capabilities, which came on the heels of his owned-and-operated dime store federal judge in Fort Pierce, Florida ruling in his favor on halting the government’s damage assessment on Trump’s treason, brought back some vivid memories of 2003.

Nuclear counter-proliferation represents one of the oldest operations of the U.S. Intelligence Community, dating back to 1945 as referenced by the formerly classified CIA document from the Jimmy Carter administration.

It was the summer of 2003 and the late U.S. diplomat Joe Wilson had relayed to me the damage to America’s nuclear counter-proliferation program in the wake of Robert Novak, Karl Rove, and Scooter Libby conspiring to reveal the identity and position of Wilson’s wife, Valerie Plame. A career Central Intelligence Agency clandestine service officer, Plame had been assigned to the CIA’s Counter-Proliferation Division, operating undercover as a consultant for Brewster Jennings and Associates, a CIA “energy consulting” cut-out. Joe Wilson had penned an op-ed in The New York Times countering the Bush administration’s claims that Saddam Hussein obtained “yellowcake” uranium from Niger. Wilson was an expert on uranium mining in the former French colonies in Africa. He had been U.S. ambassador to Gabon, another African nation that mined uranium.

Joe Wilson revealed to me that immediately following the compromise of Plame’s identity, cars full of security agents simultaneously pulled up in front of the homes and offices of anyone around the world who was known to have had any sort of contact with Plame, formal or informal. Wilson said, “picture in your mind four screens on TV showing foreign security agents shoving people into cars in Tehran, Pyongyang, Islamabad, and Moscow and you’ll have an idea of the damage the compromise of my wife’s identity caused.” Fast forward to today and the suspected compromise of foreign nuclear secrets by Trump and his associates may have resulted in even greater damage to America’s ability to counter the spread of nuclear weapons technology.

And just as with several suspicious deaths of individuals working on nuclear counter-proliferation following the compromise of Plame’s identity and operation, we can expect to hear of cases of people being defenestrated from buildings and dying from sudden heart attacks. In May 2006, in the aftermath of the Novak-Rove-Libby compromise, the badly decomposed body of Canadian diplomat Lewis B. Miskel was discovered by police in a Naples, Italy sewer. Miskell, who was assigned to the Canadian embassy in Vienna, Austria, was the attache responsible for liaison to UN specialized agencies in Vienna, including the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Maria DiBiase, an Austrian-Uruguayan national and 13-year employee of the IAEA in Vienna, fell to her death from the 19th floor of the 39-floor UN Secretariat building in New York in the early morning of February 17, 2008. These suspicious deaths were but two of many others involved with nuclear issues following the Plame compromise.

The CIA lost an entire Swiss covert operation designed to keep tabs on nuclear smuggling. In 2007, the Swiss government ordered destroyed critical evidence seized from the Tinner family of Switzerland. The Tinners were important CIA informants and their compromise severely damaged the CIA’s ability to track the proliferation of nuclear weapons material, particularly to the A Q Khan nuclear smuggling network in Pakistan. How many more deaths and intelligence operations roll-ups have resulted from Trump’s compromise and the actions of his pathetic and thoroughly-compromised judge, Aileen Cannon, in Florida? If the Plame/Brewster Jennings compromise is any indication, Trump’s actions have likely surpassed the damage done in 2003 by Novak, Rove, and Libby. Not surprisingly, Trump pardoned Libby for the federal conviction he received in the Plame disclosure matter.

Although news reports suggest the documents compromised by Trump deal with a single foreign country, they could include nuclear secrets on several nations. The CIA’s counter-proliferation program targets some dozen nations and either the current stages of their nuclear weaponry or their development of such weapons. U.S. intelligence continues to be focused on the nuclear weapons-possessing countries of North Korea, Pakistan, India, France, United Kingdom, Israel, China, and Russia and the breakout-capable and aspirant nuclear weapons nations of Iran, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, South Korea, Taiwan, Egypt, Myanmar, Japan, United Arab Emirates, and Brazil, as well as any residual issues stemming from the discontinued nuclear weapons programs of South Africa, Libya, Iraq, Sweden, and Syria.

Previously published in the Wayne Madsen Report.

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Wayne Madsen is a Washington, DC-based investigative journalist, author and nationally-distributed columnist. A member of the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) and the National Press Club. He is the editor and publisher of the Wayne Madsen Report (subscription required).

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