Spying on the Bomb: American Nuclear Intelligence from Nazi Germany to Iran and North Korea

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9780393053838: Spying on the Bomb: American Nuclear Intelligence from Nazi Germany to Iran and North Korea

A global history of U.S. nuclear espionage from its World War II origins to today's threats from rogue states.

For fifty years, the United States has monitored friends and foes who seek to develop the ultimate weapon. Since 1952 the nuclear club has grown to at least eight nations, while others are making serious attempts to join. Each chapter chronologically focuses on the nuclear activities of one or more countries, intermingling what the United States believed was happening with accounts of what actually occurred in each country's laboratories, test sites, and decision-making councils. Jeffrey T. Richelson weaves recently declassified documents into his interviews with the scientists and spies involved in the nuclear espionage. The book reveals new information about U.S. intelligence work on the Soviet/Russian, French, Chinese, Indian, Israeli, and South African nuclear programs; on the attempts to solve the mysterious Vela Incident; and on current efforts to uncover the nuclear secrets of Iran and North Korea. The book also includes spy satellite photographs never before extracted from the national archives. 46 photographs, 6 maps.

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About the Author:

Jeffrey T. Richelson is a senior fellow at the National Security Archive and author of The Wizards of Langley, The U.S. Intelligence Community, A Century of Spies, and America's Secret Eyes in Space. He lives in Los Angeles, California.

From Publishers Weekly:

Starred Review. Richelson, a senior fellow at the National Security Archive and author of several books on American intelligence including The Wizards of Langley, has written an authoritative and definitive account of U.S. nuclear espionage from the earliest days of atomic research in WWII to the present. Drawing on prodigious research—including newly declassified material—Richelson details the efforts of the U.S. intelligence community to track the nuclear activities of other states. The results of all this spy craft were at best uneven. With abundant technology—aerial reconnaissance, signals intercepts, seismic detection—but few human intelligence resources (HUMINT), the U.S. was consistently surprised by nuclear events in the Soviet Union, China, India and elsewhere. And we're still getting it wrong. Richelson analyzes how American intelligence first underestimated Iraq's nuclear program in the 1980s and then overestimated it in 2003. It's instructive that after 1998, the U.S. did not have "a single HUMINT source" in Iraq. Considering the intelligence community's "mixed record" and the continuing nuclear ambitions of rogue states like North Korea and Iran, Richelson concludes chillingly, "Trouble Is Waiting to Happen." More than a comprehensive and often compelling history of nuclear espionage, this is an important contribution to the debate regarding American intelligence that began on 9/11. (Mar.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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