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Cablegate: Allegation of Nuclear Material Smuggling - Portugal

VZCZCXYZ0012
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHLI #1808 2071344
ZNY SSSSS ZZH
P 251344Z JUL 08
FM AMEMBASSY LISBON
TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 6948

S E C R E T LISBON 001808

SIPDIS

FOR STATE ISN/CTR, PM/ISO/PMAT (24/7), DS/IP/EUR

EO 12958 DECL: 07/24/2018
TAGS ASEC, KCRM, KNNP, MNUC, PARM, PO, PREL, PTER
SUBJECT: ALLEGATION OF NUCLEAR MATERIAL SMUGGLING - PORTUGAL

REF: A. 07 STATE 162091 B. HAYCRAFT/PMAT E-MAIL DATED 7/24/08

Classified By: Ambassador Thomas Stephenson, Reason 1.4 (c)(d)(f)

1. (S) Post wishes to alert the Department and Washington agencies per reftel that it received a report indicating a potential incident of illicit trafficking in nuclear and/or radiological materials. The report came to post’s attention via a walk-in. Information concerning this report was relayed via classified e-mail to PMAT at 2:04 PM on July 24, 2008.

2. (S) Details of the incident follow:
A) Current location of material: Material appears to be in Portugal.
B) Transport status of material: Stationary
C) Assessment of the likelihood that the appropriate authorities can/will secure the material: If and when it is determined the material in fact exists, the Portuguese authorities will secure the material
D) If in transit, means of transportation: NA
E) Intended destination of material: Unknown, depends on buyer
F) Routing of material: Unknown
G) Supplier and/or Origination point of material: Walk-in claims the material is in the possession of an unidentified ex-Russian General now living in Portugal. The material was allegedly stolen from Chernobyl.
H) Type of material: U235
I) Date and time of incident: Reported July 24,2008, by walk-in
J) Source of report: XXXXXXXXXXXX
K) If an alarm, technical information: NA
L) What if anything was being smuggled with the material: Unknown
M) Specific place where alarm or incident occurred: The specific location of the alleged material is unknown
N) Additional details: The walk-in stated he was approached two months ago by a part-time business associate named Orlando to help sell “Uranium plates” owned by an unidentified ex-Russian General living in Portugal. According to the walk-in, Orlando was working through an “old” Portuguese Judge living near Porto. As proof, the walk-in provided a color photocopy of a photograph, provided by Orlando, with what appeared to be a matte gray metallic brick placed before the front page of Portuguese newspaper Jornal de Noticias. The photocopy also contained the following handwritten notes: Sketch of a rectangle with the following dimensions: height 21 cm (left side), height 25 cm (right side), length 48 cm (top), length 51 cm (bottom). Thickness .31 cm. Total Peso (weight)=25.350kg; U2354 Kg; MTK 99.9951. (RSO NOTE: At this time, it is difficult to make an assessment of the credibility of the source. The walk-in was neatly dressed and well groomed and appeared calm, confident, and alert and responded quickly to questions, especially about his motivation (financial). His English was good. He did not hesitate in providing personal information regarding his home address (not verified) and points of contact. The walk-in was, however, unable to provide any identifiers on the ex-Russian General. The walk-in stated he is not on any medications and has not consulted any mental health specialists. The walk-in does not appear to be mentally unstable and actually appears to be believe the plates are in fact Uranium. END RSO NOTE)

3. (SBU) XXXXXXXXXXXX
Stephenson

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