Publication: Monitor Volume: 2 Issue: 57

The director of the CIA said yesterday that the failure to date of terrorists to steal significant amounts of weapons-grade material from the former USSR has been in large measure a matter of luck, and he recommended that the United States continue funding efforts to help Russia reduce its nuclear stockpile and safeguard sensitive technologies. John Deutch revealed that the CIA has received "well over a hundred reports alleging the diversion of nuclear warheads or components during the last few years." But he described the vast majority of these reports as "scams" and said that the CIA has "no evidence that any terrorist organization has obtained contraband nuclear materials."

Deutch also repeated Washington’s belief that Iran is among a handful of nations harboring ambitions of building a nuclear weapon. (UPI, March 20) That charge has led the United States to oppose an $800 million Iranian-Russian deal for the completion of a nuclear power plant at Bushehr, in Iran. Deutch’s warnings, moreover, come on the heels of two U.S. fact-finding missions, each concluding that security in the former USSR’s vast network of nuclear bases, laboratories, and storage depots is underfinanced and frequently inadequate. (See Monitor, March 1 & 14) The issue is likely to occupy center stage at the April G-7 summit in Moscow on nuclear security.

Ukrainian Parliament Approves Crimean Constitution.