THE SAMSON OPTION: ISRAEL'S NUCLEAR ARSENAL AND AMERICAN FOREIGN POLICY
Chapter 11: Playing the Game
The ambivalence and hypocrisy at the top of the American government about a nuclear-armed Israel inevitably was mirrored by the bureaucracy. By the middle 1960s, the game was fixed: President Johnson and his advisers would pretend that the American inspections amounted to proof that Israel was not building the bomb, leaving unblemished America's newly reaffirmed support for nuclear nonproliferation.
The men and women analyzing intelligence data and writing reports for their higher-ups understood, as Arthur Lundahl and Dino Brugioni had learned earlier, that there was little to be gained by relaying information that those at the top did not want to know. Nonetheless, the information was there.
There was much known, for example, about the Israeli Jericho missiles, rapidly being assembled by Dassault. "We had a direct line to God," a middle-level CIA technical analyst recalled. "We had everything-not only from the French but also from the Israelis. We stole some and we had spies. I was able to draw a scale model of the system. I even designed three warheads for it-nuclear, chemical, and HE [high explosive]-as a game. We were predicting what they could do." What Israel could do, the former CIA official said, was successfully target and fire a nuclear warhead. The problem arose in conveying the intelligence. "I was never able to get anything officially published" by the CIA for distribution throughout the government, he said. "Everybody knew" about the Israeli missile, he added, "but nobody would talk about it." The official said he decided to bootleg a copy of the intelligence report-risking his job by doing so--to senior officials in the Pentagon and State Department. "I remember briefing a DIA [Defense Intelligence Agency] admiral. He wasn't ready to believe it. I got him turned around, but he retired and no one else cared."
Even James Jesus Angleton, the CIA's director of counterintelligence, who also was responsible for liaison with Israel, had his problems when it came to the Israeli bomb. The moody Angleton was legendary-and feared-for his insistence on secrecy and his paranoia about Soviet penetration of the Agency. He was a master of backchannel and "eyes only" reports, and his increasing inability to deal with the real world eventually led to his firing in late 1974, but his glaring faults in counterintelligence apparently did not spill over to Israel.  Former Agency officials, who, in prior interviews with me, had been unsparing in their criticism of Angleton's bizarre methods in counterintelligence, acknowledged that he had performed correctly and proficiently in his handling of Israel. Angleton had worked closely with members of the Jewish resistance in Italy while serving with the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) at the end of World War II; it was a dramatic period when thousands of Jewish refugees and concentration camp survivors were being illicitly funneled from Europe into Palestine, then under British control.
One of Angleton's closest colleagues was Meir (Meme) Deshalit, a resistance leader and Israeli intelligence official who had been posted to Washington in 1948. Deshalit was the older brother of Amos Deshalit, the physicist who had done much to develop Israel's nuclear arsenal before dying of cancer in 1969. Angleton shared Meir Deshalit's view of the Soviet and Arab threat to Israel; his personal contacts and strong feelings made him the logical choice to handle liaison between the CIA and the Israeli government. His was one of the most important assignments in the 1950s and early 1960s, the height of the Cold War, because of the continuing flow of Soviet and Eastern European refugees into Israel. Angleton and his Israeli counterparts ran the "rat lines," as the Jewish refugee link became known. It was the Jewish refugee operations, as many in the CIA understood, that provided the West in the early postwar years with its most important insights into the Soviet bloc. Some of the programs were financed off the shelf by CIA contingency funds, as part of KK MOUNTAIN.
Angleton's love for Israel and his shared views on the Arab and Soviet question, however, did not keep him from investigating, as a counterintelligence officer, any Israeli or American Jew he suspected of trafficking in classified information. One of the big question marks was nuclear technology. The CIA knew from its analysis of the fallout of the ongoing French nuclear tests in the Sahara that the increasingly modernized and miniaturized French warheads were based on United States design. A former American nuclear intelligence official recalled that he and his colleagues "were driven crazy" by the suspicion that Israel's quid pro quo for the French help at Dimona included access to design information purloined from the government's nuclear laboratories at Los Alamos and Livermore, California.
No evidence of such a link was found, but intelligence community investigators were surprised to discover at the end of the CHAOS inquiry a cache of Angleton's personal files, secured with black tape, that revealed what obviously had been a long-running- and highly questionable-study of American Jews in the government. The files showed that Angleton had constructed what amounted to a matrix of the position and Jewishness of senior officials in the CIA and elsewhere who had access to classified information of use to Israel. Someone in a sensitive position who was very active in Jewish affairs in his personal life, or perhaps had family members who were Zionists, scored high on what amounted to a Jewishness index.
One government investigator, talking about the Angleton files in a 1991 interview, recalled his surprise at discovering that even going to synagogue was a basis for suspicion. "I remembered the First Amendment," the investigator added sardonically. "You know, Freedom of Religion." The Angleton matrix suggested that at some point a suspect who measured high enough on the Jewishness scale was subjected to a full-bore field investigation. "Was there simply a background check, or was there physical or electronic surveillance?" the investigator asked rhetorically. "I don't know. I was angry but at the same time thought it wasn't irrational because a lot of Jews were giving help to Israel." In the end, the Angleton files were not investigated further or even brought to the attention of the House or Senate intelligence committees: "We decided not to do anything with it."
Samuel Halpern, a Jew who served for years as executive assistant to the director of the CIA's clandestine services, was under constant investigation by Angleton. Halpern's position, the highest reached by any Jew in the clandestine service, gave him access to the name and background of every foreigner who had ever been recruited by the CIA. His father, Hanoch, was a Pole who had become active in Zionism before World War II and, after emigrating to Palestine, had worked closely with Ben-Gurion and Moshe Sharett, among others, after the State of Israel was formed in 1948. "Jim looked at me real hard," Halpern recalled with a laugh, "but I told him, 'I'm not going to muck up your desk.' The Israelis never approached me. Why should they when I'm sitting on the third floor [of the CIA] and Jim's on the second?"
Angleton did more than just collect information on American Jews. He also was a sponsor, through the CHAOS program, of a highly secret CIA operation involving the Agency's purchase of a Washington trash collection company. The firm, known in the CIA as a proprietary, had contracts to pick up garbage at various Third World embassies, including the Israeli embassy. Another of its stops was the downtown Washington offices of B'nai B'rith, the powerful Jewish social and volunteer organization with worldwide activities. The trash would be systematically sorted and analyzed for any possible intelligence.
Angleton's close personal ties with the Deshalit family and others in Israel made it inevitable that he would learn about the construction in the Negev. One senior official recalled that Angleton's first intelligence report on Israel's plans to build the bomb was filed routinely in the late 1950s, and not by backchannel, and thus could be made available to those who needed to know inside the CIA's Directorate of Operations, the unit responsible for clandestine action. "I have no idea who his sources were," the senior official said. "He probably never told the director." Over the next few years Angleton continued to produce intelligence on Dimona, also based on information supplied by his personal contacts, but never learned-or, at least, never reported-the extent to which Israel was deceiving Washington about its nuclear weapons progress.
Angleton, of course, had been given periodic briefings in the late 1950s and early 1960s by Lundahl or Brugioni on the intelligence collected by the U-2 overflights of the Negev, but never evinced much interest. His forte was human intelligence, or HUMINT, as the intelligence community calls it, and not technical intelligence, such as the U-2 imagery. "He was a real funny guy," Brugioni recalled. "I'd meet with him, brief him; he'd ask a few questions, you'd leave--and never know what he's holding. Sometimes he'd have his office real dark and have a light only on you. He was a real spook."
For all of his mystique and freedom to operate, Angleton, too, was stymied by the Israeli bomb. His reports on Dimona, buttressed by the U-2 data, did not even result in an official CIA estimate that Israel was going nuclear. Such formal estimates, which are distributed to the President and other key government officials, were the responsibility of analysts in the CIA's Office of National Estimates (ONE). "Jim kept saying, 'Yes, they've got it,' and the analysts would say, 'I don't believe it,' " one former intelligence official recalled. The analysts simply did not think Angleton's HUM1NT sources were reliable, the official said, adding that tension and second-guessing over human intelligence sources were a way of life in the CIA. By 1965, an extensive dossier of HUMINT reports on Dimona had built up, the official said, and the nuclear issue was again raised with the ONE analysts: "They told me that even if Israel did have the bomb, they'd never use it."
The intelligence official, recalling the issue in an interview, got angry again at the analysts: "They were so stupid. You'd have to put the bomb under their noses before they'd believe it. They didn't have any understanding of Israel; didn't know what made them think. They were so stupid."
It is not known how many CIA analyses on the Israeli bomb were produced in the early 1960s by the Office of National Estimates, but the one memorandum that does exist was astonishingly inept about Israeli attitudes. The paper, entitled "Consequences of Israeli Acquisition of Nuclear Capability," was dated March 6, 1963, and was made available nearly twenty years later at the John F. Kennedy Library without any deletions. The national estimate concluded that Israel, once having attained a nuclear capability, "would use all the means at its command to persuade the U.S. to acquiesce in, and even to support, its possession. . . . Israel could be expected to use the argument that this possession entitled it to participate in all international negotiations respecting nuclear questions and disarmament." The staggering flaw in the CIA analysis was its basic assumption: that Israel would make public or otherwise let its nuclear capability become officially known. The reality was precisely the opposite: Israel had no intention of going public with the bomb in fear of American and worldwide Jewish disapproval that would result in international reprobation and diminished financial support from the Diaspora.
Such flawed intelligence analyses went a long way toward keeping the men at the top officially ignorant of what no one wanted to know. In public, the Johnson administration, as were its predecessors, was firmly opposed to the spread of nuclear weapons anywhere in the world; official acknowledgment of an Israeli bomb would have presented Washington with an unwanted dilemma-either sanction Israel or be accused of a nuclear double standard.
Israel was not considered a nuclear weapons state on October 18, 1964, when China exploded its long-awaited first nuclear bomb. President Johnson, three weeks away from his over whelming election triumph over Senator Barry Goldwater of Arizona, the Republican presidential candidate, reaffirmed his commitment to nonproliferation in a nationally televised speech: "Until this week, only four powers [the United States, the Soviet Union, Great Britain, and France] had entered the dangerous world of nuclear explosions. Whatever their differences, all four are sober and serious states, with long experience as major powers in the modern world. Communist China has no such experience.... [Its] expensive and demanding effort tempts other states to equal folly," the President said. "Nuclear spread is dangerous to all mankind. . . . [W]e must continue to work against it, and we will." 
The President may have believed his impassioned words, but not all of his senior advisers did. Six weeks later, McGeorge Bundy, Robert McNamara, and Secretary of State Dean Rusk discussed what they considered the administration's real policy options at a secret meeting on nonproliferation. Among those taking careful notes was Glenn T. Seaborg, chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission, who recounted the session in his little-noted 1987 memoir, Stemming the Tide:
"Rusk said he thought a basic question was whether we really should have a nonproliferation policy prescribing that no countries beyond the present five might acquire nuclear weapons. Were we clear that this should be a major objective of U.S. policy? For example, might we not want to be in a position where India or Japan would be able to respond with nuclear weapons to a Chinese threat? Rusk mentioned the possibility of having an Asian group of nuclear weapons countries, pointing out that the real issue was among Asian countries and not between northern countries and the Asians.
"McNamara thought it would take decades for India or Japan to have any appreciable deterrent. Nevertheless, he thought the question Rusk had raised should be studied. He pointed out that adoption of a nonproliferation policy by the United States might require us to guarantee the security of nations that renounced nuclear weapons.
"I [Seaborg] expressed doubt that a policy condoning further proliferation should be considered, saying that, once a process of making exceptions was started, we would lose control and that this would inevitably lead to serious trouble. . . .
"Bundy warned about the need to keep very quiet the fact that we were discussing the basic questions of whether U.S. policy should be nonproliferation, because everyone assumed that this was our policy. Any intimation to the contrary would be very disturbing throughout the world. McNamara added that we had to the stop the leaks that come out of meetings like this. He agreed with Bundy that the fact that the U.S. commitment to nonproliferation was being questioned simply must not be allowed to leak." 
One senior American who resisted the persuasive talk about expanding the nuclear club was John McCone, the increasingly frustrated CIA director. McCone sorely felt the loss of John Kennedy; his relationship with Lyndon Johnson was much less intimate and his advice not always welcome. McCone's solution to the Chinese bomb (and to the problems with North Vietnam) was to send in the Air Force. "McCone just raised hell" about the Chinese bomb, recalled Walt Elder. "He wanted permission to fly U-2S over the test site and was turned down." The CIA director wasn't daunted: he next floated "the idea of what if we got in and took out the Chinese capability?" Daniel Ellsberg recalled similar talk at high levels in the Pentagon: "We were saying, in essence, that if we could have stopped the Russian bomb, we would have saved the world a lot of trouble. It's too bad the Soviets got the bomb." One thought was to use unmarked bombers to strike at the Chinese, thus avoiding identification. Cooler heads prevailed, Ellsberg recalled: "The mission just looked too big to be plausibly denied."
McCone resigned as CIA director in 1965, despite his support for Johnson's continuing escalations in Vietnam. He explained to a colleague: "When I cannot get the President to read my reports, then it's time to go." McCone knew that Floyd Culler's inspections were accomplishing little; he also understood what Israel's continuing refusal to permit full- fledged international inspections meant. But, said Elder, the CIA director found that Johnson "didn't understand the implications" of the inspection issue and didn't want to hear about it. By the end of McCone's tenure, Elder added, he believed Lyndon Johnson as President had three basic concerns: "His standing in polls. 'Can I sell it to Congress?' And 'How can I get out of Vietnam?'"
There was yet another concern: Johnson's understanding that good nonproliferation policies made for bad politics. The President needed no one to remind him that any serious move to squeeze the Israelis on their nuclear weapons program would lead to a firestorm of protest from American Jews, many of whose leaders had consistently supported his presidency and the Vietnam War. He got another reminder of the political danger of nonproliferation from a special panel on that subject he convened a few weeks after the Chinese test. The distinguished panel, headed by Roswell L. Gilpatric, who had served John Kennedy as deputy secretary of defense, returned on January 21, 1965-the day after Johnson's inauguration-with a report that amounted to an indictment of past and present policy.  It warned that the world was "fast approaching a point of no return" in opportunities for controlling the spread of nuclear weapons and urged the President, "as a matter of great urgency, [to] substantially increase the scope and intensity of our effort if we are to have any hope of success." The report also advocated the establishment of nuclear-free zones in Latin America, Africa, and the Middle East, including Israel and Egypt. Most significantly, it suggested that the President should reconsider-in terms of nonproliferation-a controversial American plan to create a multilateral force (MLF) that would give NATO members, including the West Germans, a joint finger on the nuclear trigger. The raising of any question about the MLF issue was especially sensitive, for the Soviet Union was insisting that any proposed nonproliferation treaty prohibit a separate European nuclear force, which it viewed as nothing more than a vehicle for providing the West Germans with the bomb.
At a White House meeting with the President, individual members of the panel listed a sweeping series of priorities -- including encouraging France to turn its force de frappe into a NATO nuclear missile battery-that prompted the President to note caustically, according to Glenn Seaborg, that implementation of the committee's report would be "a very pleasant undertaking." Johnson and his aides at the meeting, who included McGeorge Bundy and Dean Rusk, warned Gilpatric and the committee members not to discuss the report with any outsiders or even to acknowledge that a written document had been presented to the White House (the Gilpatric report remains highly classified today). Seaborg, who attended the meeting, noted in his memoir that Rusk, when asked by the President for his views, depicted the report as being "as explosive as a nuclear weapon." Its premature release, Rusk added, "could start the ball rolling in an undesirable manner"- in terms of the MLF and future negotiations on a nonproliferation treaty. The report went nowhere, despite the President's promise of further consultations with Gilpatric.
Political disaster, from the White House's point of view, struck in June, when newly elected Senator Robert Kennedy based his maiden Senate floor speech on many of the until then unknown and ignored recommendations of Gilpatric's panel. Kennedy, often invoking his dead brother, urged the President to rise above the immediate issues and begin dealing with nuclear proliferation: "Upon the success of this effort depends the only future our children will have. The need to halt the spread of nuclear weapons must' be a central priority of American policy." Kennedy specifically called for Johnson to immediately open worldwide negotiations for a comprehensive test ban treaty; such talks, he proposed, should include Communist China, one of North Vietnam's allies, and he indirectly criticized Johnson for his preoccupation with Vietnam by stating: "We cannot allow the demands of day-to-day policy to obstruct our efforts to solve the problems of nuclear spread. We cannot wait for peace in the Southeast-which will not come until nuclear weapons spread beyond recall."  Johnson, of course, was made apoplectic by what he was convinced was Gilpatric's leaking of the report to Kennedy and responded by deleting material on nonproliferation from a speech he was scheduled to deliver the day after the Kennedy speech. Over the next months, Glenn Seaborg recalled, there was nothing more heard about the Gilpatric report from the White House, and nonproliferation continued to be treated as a topic fit only for the arms controllers in the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency (ACDA), whose advice-no matter how prudent -- rarely carried weight with the White House. President Johnson held out for two years before agreeing in secret talks with the Soviets to drop the MLF, clearing the way for the 1968 Nonproliferation Treaty and giving the government's arms controllers an important victory.
In the mid-1960s, the Soviet Union had begun to step up its military and economic aid programs in the Middle East, and Israel was increasingly seen by the Johnson White House as a regional American bulwark. It was inevitable that high-level interest in the perennial and profitless issue of international inspection for Dimona began to wane in 1967-as the A-4E Skyhawks began arriving in Israel, as the routine Floyd Culler inspections proceeded, and as America got more and more enmeshed in the Southeast Asian war.
There were strong public clues, nonetheless, that Israel never stopped planning to build its bombs. In mid-1966, the Israeli government delayed in accepting nearly $60 million in possible American aid for the construction of a much-needed nuclear desalinization and power plant because the aid was contingent on an Israeli commitment to permit IAEA inspection of Dimona. Johnson and Eshkol had announced a preliminary agreement to build the plant in 1964, amid much fanfare, and subsequent studies showed the facility could produce two hundred megawatts of power and 100 million gallons of desalted water daily. Continued American insistence on IAEA inspections made the Israelis walk away, without any explicit explanation, from the project. The proposed desalinization plant was studied for the next decade, but the American conditions were never accepted, and the plant was never built. The pro-nuclear advocates in the Rafi Party, including Peres and Bergmann, urged Israel to refuse American aid for the plant and publicly accused the United States of attempting to violate Israeli sovereignty by linking its support to Dimona's IAEA inspection.
Privately, Peres and Bergmann-still influential, although out of office-suspected that the United States had a hidden agenda in its support of the nuclear desalinization plant: to divert Israeli funds, manpower, and resources from Israel's nuclear arsenal, in the hope that Israel would at some point be forced to make a choice between nuclear weapons and nuclear energy.
A second clue came in July 1966, during a debate in the Knesset on the most recent inspection of Dimona by Floyd Culler, whose conclusion-that there was still no evidence of a bomb facility-had again been made available by American officials to John Finney of the New York Times and, so some Israelis thought, also to Egypt. During the debate, Shimon Peres told of his recent participation at an international conference on nuclear weapons where, he said, the Middle East was discussed: "I found that there is unfortunately no possibility of limiting the spread of nuclear weapons in the near future-not because of Israel, but because big powers are not agreeing among themselves.... I was glad to discover that most experts on the subject do not believe it possible to envisage nuclear disarmament or the Middle East in isolation from the conventional arms race...."  Peres was, in essence, defending Israel's decision not to give in to Washington's IAEA inspection demands on the ground that the Arabs had conventional superiority. The same argument-Warsaw Pact tank and troop superiority -had been used a few years earlier by the United States and its allies to justify the deployment of nuclear missiles in Europe.
By the late 1960s, much of the United States' primary analysis of nuclear intelligence had been shifted from the CIA to the design and engineering laboratories for nuclear weapons at Los Alamos and Sandia and, later, Livermore, where intelligence units dealing with the Soviet Union and China had been set up after World War II. The growing danger of proliferation became starkly clear during the Kennedy administration, when a group of scientists awaiting clearance before beginning work at Los Alamos successfully designed a nuclear bomb from the open literature. The laboratories' primary targets continued to be the reactors and research centers in the Soviet Union and China, but the intelligence units eventually began monitoring the transfer of nuclear technology and those countries that were viewed as "nth" nations, as near-nuclear countries came to be known. "We had tremendous data" that went beyond satellite photography and intercepted communications, a closely involved official said. "We had people who had worked inside plants in the USSR and China. We were even able to do mock-ups of their weapons system-go from the warhead back through the plant. As part of the drill, I was required to summarize who's got the bomb and who was next, in near-term capability." Israel was always at the top of his list, the official recalled, followed by South Africa. "We were watching the relationship between France and Israel and between Israel and South Africa," he added. "Those were the links."
His assignment also included monitoring the flow of uranium ore into Israel from supplier nations such as Argentina and South Africa. Such ore, known as yellowcake, served as the raw fuel for the heavy-water reactor at Dimona; by the mid-1960s, its sale was a highly competitive and profitable business whose transfer in lots under ten tons was not monitored by the IAEA in Vienna. The first known shipment of ore from South Africa to Israel had arrived in 1963 and, since it totaled ten tons, was duly reported. In subsequent years, however, clandestine shipments of South African yellowcake began to arrive at Dimona, often escorted by a special operations unit of the Israeli Defense Force. Israel's goal was to prevent outsiders from learning that the reactor was operating at two to three times greater capacity than publicly acknowledged, utilizing that much more uranium ore-and therefore capable of reprocessing greater amounts of plutonium. At least some of those later clandestine shipments from South Africa became known in the late 1960s to the intelligence officers in Los Alamos and Sandia, who were carefully watching-by satellites and other means -- most of the major uranium mines in the world. But after Israel's overwhelming victory in the 1967 Six-Day War, the intelligence about Dimona and its nuclear potential became highly compartmentalized, as the White House decided to side more openly with Israel in the Middle East, and thus much harder to access. "We knew about the yellowcake," the official recalled, "but we weren't allowed to keep a file on it. It simply wasn't part of the record. Anytime we began to follow it, somebody in the system would say, 'That's not relevant.'"
The U-2 was still flying, but Lundahl and Brugioni had gone on to new assignments in photo interpretation and were no longer directly involved in Israeli nuclear matters. Far more intelligence was being collected by America's CORONA and GAMBIT satellite systems, which, after much trial and error, had by the mid-1960s begun consistently to produce high- resolution photography from their orbital perches in outer space. Any interesting intelligence on Israel was now being routed to Livermore and Los Alamos through the CIA's Office of Science and Technology, headed by Carl E. Duckett, to which Lundahl's National Photo Interpretation Center was now reporting.
Duckett, a college dropout, had been recruited to the Agency in 1963 from the Army's Missile Command headquarters at the Redstone Arsenal in Alabama. As a civilian Army expert on Soviet missile systems, he had been regularly consulted in prior years by Lundahl and Brugioni on U-2, photo intelligence, but had been told nothing about the findings on Dimona. That process reversed once Duckett joined the CIA, where he got his own special access to the Israeli intelligence. In the beginning, Brugioni recalled, there were long meetings in the late afternoon, usually over a few drinks, at which Duckett and his colleagues would openly discuss the day's findings. Eventually those faded away. Duckett was a quick study, Brugioni said: "By the mid-1960s, it was all his baby." Lundahl and Brugioni soon came to understand that Duckett was no longer sharing all of his information about the Israeli bomb -- the U-2,'s spy flights were no longer as important, and there was no longer any need for them to know. It was the end of an era.
The screening out of Lundahl and Brugioni was perhaps more of a loss than Duckett and his colleagues in the Office of Science and Technology could understand: those two were the institutional memory of the U-2, intelligence on Dimona- almost none of which had been reduced to writing prior to 1960. "Duckett knew very little about what went on before," Brugioni said. "He never asked me and I never told him. Lundahl always said, 'This is very, very sensitive.'" In subsequent years, even the most senior officials of the American government would learn little about the pre-1960 U-2, flights over Dimona; the lack of written history meant that there was nothing in the files. It was the first of many disconnects that would come to dominate the processing of U.S. intelligence on Dimona.
1. The first prominent public mention of Angleton's role in counterintelligence came in a major front-page expose by the author in the New York Times of December 12, 1974. The story linked Angleton and his office to Operation CHAOS, the massive and illegal spying by the CIA on antiwar dissidents in America. Angleton, in a telephone conversation with me before the story was published, suggested that he could provide better stories, dealing with Communist penetration of the antiwar movement and CIA operatives in the Soviet Union, if the domestic spying story was not published. On the day of its publication, a Sunday, as I later wrote in the Times, Angleton telephoned me very early at home and complained that Cecily, his wife of thirty-one years, had learned only by reading my story that her husband was not a postal employee, as Angleton claimed he had told her. He added: "And now she's left me." The call shook me up; the upset in his voice seemed real. I mumbled something about a newsman's responsibility to the truth, hung up, and telephoned an old friend who had served in the CIA with Angleton. He laughingly told me that Cecily of course had known from the beginning what her husband did for a living, and had left him three years earlier to move to Arizona, only to return.
2. Johnson also reassured the nation that his administration had not been surprised by the Chinese test. The President perhaps did not know it at the time of his talk, but the American intelligence community was aghast to learn from air sampling that the Chinese bomb had been fueled by enriched uranium, and not, as predicted by the CIA, by far-easier-to- produce plutonium. The American guess had been that China would chemically reprocess plutonium from the spent uranium rods in a reactor, as at Dimona. Confronted with evidence to the contrary, some in the CIA believed that China might have stolen or otherwise misappropriated the enriched uranium for its bomb.
3. Rusk carried his fight to other bureaucratic forums, with the focus on a nuclear India. Daniel Ellsberg recalled being told by his Pentagon superiors after the Chinese test in 1964 that Rusk's position was that "India needed a nuclear weapon as a deterrent and there was no reason for them not to have it." Rusk's basic approach, Ellsberg added, was "Why shouldn't our friends have nuclear weapons now that our enemies have them?" It should be noted that there was no mention of this extraordinary debate in McGeorge Bundy's seemingly comprehensive history of the atom bomb, Danger and Survival, published in 1988. India's drive for the bomb, wrote Bundy, "remains a doubt ful prize in that something about this apocalyptically destructive standard of greatness is not truly Indian." Bundy could have added that there were a few Americans in high Washington positions in 1964 who had no doubt then that India's desire for the bomb was quite truly Indian.
4. Panel members included the retired Allen Dulles, the former secretary of state Dean Acheson, the former defense secretary Robert A. Lovett, the former White House science adviser George B. Kistiakowsky, and IBM chairman Arthur K. Watson.
5. Kennedy also warned that Israel and India "already possess weapons-grade fissionable material, and could fabricate an atomic device within a few months." Further Israeli progress on the bomb, he added, "would certainly impel the Egyptians to intensify their present efforts." The senator's remarks caused a sensation in Israel, but were little noted elsewhere. The New York Times's page-one account of the Kennedy speech included no mention of Israel.
6. Peres misstated the conference's findings. His Knesset statement was initially reported in Israel and Nuclear Weapons, by Fuad Jabber, published in 1971 by the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) in London. Jabber wrote that the conference, known as the International Assembly on Nuclear Weapons and sponsored in part by the IISS, had, in fact, issued a call for "a serious effort" to negotiate a nuclear-free zone in the Middle East. The assembly took place June 23-26, 1966, in Toronto, Canada.