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Cablegate: Burmese Civilian Offers to Sell Purported Uranium

VZCZCXYZ0017
OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHGO #0749/01 2670859
ZNY SSSSS ZZH
O 230859Z SEP 08
FM AMEMBASSY RANGOON
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 8191
INFO RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK IMMEDIATE 2005
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RHHMUNA/CDR USPACOM HONOLULU HI IMMEDIATE
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RHMCSUU/FBI WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE
RHMFISS/DEPT OF HOMELAND SECURITY WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RUEKJCS/DIA WASHDC IMMEDIATE

S E C R E T RANGOON 000749

SIPDIS

FOR STATE ISN/CTR AND PM/ISO/PMAT (24/7)
DEPT PLEASE PASS TO DEPT OF ENERGY

EO 12958 DECL: 09/23/2018
TAGS KNNP, MNUC, PARM, KCRM, PTER, ASEC, KCOR, BM
SUBJECT: BURMESE CIVILIAN OFFERS TO SELL PURPORTED URANIUM
238 TO U.S. EMBASSY RANGOON, BURMA

REF: A. 2007 STATE 162091 B. USDAO RANGOON IIR 6 812 0131 08

Classified By: CDA Larry Dinger for Reasons 1.4 (b and d)

1. (S//REL to USA, ACGU) Per Ref A, Post is alerting the Department and Washington agencies that on XXXXXXXXXXXX after USDAO Rangoon received guidance from DIA, a Burmese civilian met with members of USDAO Rangoon and offered to sell Uranium-238. The individual had initially contacted the USDAO eight days prior with the offer. The individual provided a small bottle half-filled with metallic powder and a photocopied certificate of testing from a Chinese university dated 1992 as verification of the radioactive nature of the powder. During XXXXXXXXXXXX interview, the individual claimed to be able to provide up to 2000 kg of uranium-bearing rock from a location in Kayah State XXXXXXXXXXXX , and further stated if the U.S. was not interested in purchasing the uranium, he and his associates would try to sell it to other countries, beginning with Thailand. See Ref B for further information.

2. (S//REL TO USA, ACGU) Details of the incident follow, keyed to questions in Ref A:
A) (S//REL to USA, ACGU) Current location of the material: Sample bottle is in transit via classified Diplomatic Pouch to Aberdeen Proving Grounds via DIA.
B) (S//REL to USA, ACGU) Transportation status of material: sample bottle in transit through diplomatic courier service. The sample was wrapped in several layers and placed inside multiple containers, including glass, lead, and wooden boxes/crates. Following instructions from DIA headquarters, USDAO has sent the package via Diplomatic Pouch to XXXXXXXXXXXX The box is marked “Secret.” Dimensions are 16 X 16 X 8 inches. Embassy Rangoon assesses that the host nation is currently unaware of USDAO receipt and shipment of the material. However, the possibility cannot be dismissed that rather than a sale for profit, the seller is attempting to assist in executing a government entrapment scheme.
C) (S//REL to USA, ACGU) As noted, Post assesses that the Burmese government is currently unaware of USDAO receipt and shipment of the sample. Burmese authorities would likely seize any additional samples or stocks of the material if aware of their existence.
D) (S//REL to USA, ACGU) Sample is in transit by commercial air via Diplomatic Pouch.
E) (S//REL to USA, ACGU) Intended destination of material: The subject indicated his first choice for a possible buyer of the alleged uranium is the United States, via the Embassy in Rangoon. Other stated options include the Thai and Chinese Embassies. His intent appears to be to sell the material in Rangoon. Subject made no mention of intent to move material across borders.
F) Unknown.
G - J) (S//NF) Subject identified himself as XXXXXXXXXXXX .
(S//REL TO USA, ACGU) The subject brought with him a small bottle weighing 1.8 ounces and measuring 70 mm long by 26 mm in diameter, which was half-filled with a grey metallic powder. He claimed the material in question was Uranium-238 in powder form. The subject claims to represent a small group that wants to sell uranium to the U.S. Embassy. According to the subject, he has 50 kilograms of uranium-containing rock or ore at an undisclosed location in Rangoon, which is stored in a barrel that prevents the radioactivity from being toxic XXXXXXXXXXXX . He estimates there are at least 2000 more kilograms that could be dug up from the
site in Kayah State. The uranium was only recently brought to Rangoon (subject would not give a specific time frame). The subject claimed the uranium was discovered in Kayah state in 1992. XXXXXXXXXXXX
(S//REL TO USA, ACGU) The subject claimed XXXXXXXXXXXX know about the uranium. XXXXXXXXXXXX
K) N/A.
L) N/A.
M) (S//REL TO USA, ACGU) Interview occurred in a consular interview room (used for walk-ins) at the U.S. Embassy Rangoon.
N) Additional details: Ref B contains all other available information related to this incident.

3. (SBU) XXXXXXXXXXXX
DINGER

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