Classified By: EUR/PRA: KATHLEEN MORENSKI PER E.O. 12958: REASONS 1.4 (A) AND (G).
1. (SBU) This is an action request: Embassy Moscow please see para 6 and 7; and Embassy Tbilisi please see para 8.
2. (S/NF) Background: Over two years ago Russia requested a ten-gram sample of highly enriched uranium (HEU) seized in early 2006 in Georgia during a nuclear smuggling sting operation involving one Russian national and several Georgian accomplices. The seized HEU was transferred to U.S. custody and is being held at a secure DOE facility. In response to the Russian request, the Georgian Government authorized the United States to share a sample of the material with the Russians for forensic analysis. Director Mueller previously planned to deliver the sample in April (Ref A), but due to a scheduling conflict the trip was canceled. Embassy Moscow LegAtt informed the FSB prior to Mueller’s intended April delivery and received confirmation that the FSB would take custody of the sample after the Director’s plane landed. EST Moscow also informed Rosatom of the planned transfer and that the U.S. placed a high priority on completing this transfer (Ref B). Once the LegAtt told FSB counterparts the April trip had been canceled, Ambassador Beyrle informed Igor Neverov (Ref C),
who said that he understood but was disappointed the trip was postponed. The September 21 visit provides again an opportunity to deliver the requested ten-gram sample from the seized HEU in order to obtain cooperation from the GOR on this nuclear smuggling case and to eventually establish a more productive mechanism of U.S.-Russian cooperation on nuclear forensics.
3. (S/NF) While there was a reasonable exchange of information with Russian security services at the time of the 2006 seizure, we have had poor cooperation investigating the diversion of HEU, which the United States believes was stolen from a Russian facility. Russia did not respond to papers that then Acting U/S Rood provided Deputy Foreign Minister Ryabkov in December 2008 reiterating the USG position that Russia should pick up this sample in the United States. Further, when asked for an update on their response to our proposal, Ryabkov told us in early 2009 in Washington that there was an interagency dispute over who would come and pick up the material.
4. (S/NF) Given Russia’s reluctance to act so far, FBI Mueller’s delivery of this sample will underscore to Russia our commitment to follow through on this case. While some details related to the sharing of information on smuggling networks may be too sensitive to discuss, delivery of the sample could enable us to discuss whether Russian authorities investigated the diversion and prosecuted anyone. Moreover, we hope it will spark discussions on mechanisms to exchange information and material on future incidents of this nature, particularly in light of the commitments made in the July summit U.S.-Russia Joint Statement on Nuclear Cooperation regarding strengthening our cooperation to stop acts of nuclear terrorism. Posts should note that DOE/NNSA’s April 2009 determination authorizing distribution of the sample to the Russian Federation only for attribution of the sample in support of a criminal investigation is applicable to the proposed September 21 delivery of the sample to Russia.
5. (S/Rel Russia) Background con’t: On April 16, the FSB verbally confirmed to Legatt that we will have no problem with the Russian Ministry of Aviation concerning Mueller’s flight (although we probably won’t see paperwork until shortly before the trip). The FBI is requiring that the sample be turned over to a Russian law enforcement authority (i.e., FSB) as opposed to an intelligence service (i.e., SVR) or technical authority (i.e., Rosatom). A representative from the responsible Russian Law Enforcement authority, who will accept custody of the sample, must be identified and verified ahead of time. That individual will be required to have signatory authority to accept the sample. Appropriate arrangements need to be made to ensure the transfer of material is conducted at the airport, plane-side, upon arrival of the Director’s aircraft. Post should also remind the GOR that this is the material about which the GOR gave the USG nonproliferation assurances in 2008 in a diplomatic note from February 2008 (Ref D).
Lock’em all up and throw away the key! The Deep State gets even deeper.
Do you think that Robert Mueller needs to answer for this?