Cablegate: Update On Wmd Portal Detection in Uzbekistan
DE RUEHNT #2081/01 3391117
ZNY SSSSS ZZH
O 051117Z DEC 07
FM AMEMBASSY TASHKENT
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 8871
INFO RUEHAH/AMEMBASSY ASHGABAT 3511
RUEHTA/AMEMBASSY ASTANA 9724
RUEHEK/AMEMBASSY BISHKEK 4127
RUEHDBU/AMEMBASSY DUSHANBE 0001
RUEHBUL/AMEMBASSY KABUL 2011
RUEHMO/AMEMBASSY MOSCOW 7234
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 0018
RUEHUNV/USMISSION UNVIE VIENNA 0063
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHINGTON DC
S E C R E T TASHKENT 002081
DEPT FOR SCA/CEN BRIAN RORAFF, ISN/CTR ARYN LESTER, AND
SCA/RA ANNE CUMMINGS
E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/05/2017
TAGS: MNUC KNNP PARM KCRM PTER ASEC KCOR KZ KG UZ
SUBJECT: UPDATE ON WMD PORTAL DETECTION IN UZBEKISTAN REF: A. STATE 163194 B. TASHKENT 2063 Classified By: DTRA Fred Carter and Poloff Steven Prohaska for reasons 1.4 (b, d).
1.(S/NF) Post has received no further official information at this point but Charge d'Affaires has requested an urgent meeting with First Deputy Foreign Minister Nematov shortly to present a diplomatic note and a list of questions related to the WMD portal detection in Uzbekistan and to discuss related matters. Post also plans to follow up with the Institute of Nuclear Physics on this issue.
2. (S/NF) Responses to questions follow: Question 1:
3.(S/REL UZBEKISTAN) Can you confirm the origin of the train? Initial reporting details indicate that Kyrgyzstan is an unlikely point of origin based on normal rail traffic patterns, and seems to suggest the source might be confusing Kyrgyzstan with Kazakhstan.
4.(S/NF) The train appears to have originated in Kyrgyzstan, then transited the territory of Kazakhstan before arriving in Uzbekistan. Question 2:
5.(S/REL UZBEKISTAN) Is this a cargo car or passenger car? If this is cargo, what is the declared cargo in the railcar?
6.(S/NF) This is a cargo car declared to be carrying scrap metal. Question 3:
7.(S/REL UZBEKISTAN) Where is the material now? Is it in a secure location? What are the geographic coordinates of the location of this incident? This information will help us understand the location of the Port of Entry (POE).
8.(S/NF) The material is currently at xxxxxxxxxxxx(coordinates are xxxxxxxxxxxx, xxxxxxxxxxxx) but will be transported to xxxxxxxxxxxx(coordinates xxxxxxxxxxxx, xxxxxxxxxxxx) at an undetermined time before the car is opened. Question 4:
9.(S/REL UZBEKISTAN) What is the standard operating procedure in Uzbekistan when these types of alarms occur? Is the procedure being followed in this case?
10.(S/NF) Normally when an alarm occurs, authorities report it simultaneously to Customs headquarters, Border Guards headquarters, and the Institute of Nuclear Physics (INP). INP then makes an initial assessment, and a team visits the location for further assessment. The Ministry of Emergency Situations (MChS) also becomes involved if there is a need to quarantine the cargo. Authorities appear to be following standard operating procedure. The MChS is currently in charge of handling this situation, and INP will take part in the opening of the car. Question 5:
11. (S/REL UZBEKISTAN) Have Uzbek authorities notified the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) or other entities of the alarm (including the US, since we got this report off-the-record)? Have they been in contact with authorities in the train's country of origin?
12.(S/NF) We believe it is very unlikely that Uzbekistan's authorities have notified the IAEA or other entities of the alarm. Question 6:
13.(S/REL UZBEKISTAN) Why do Uzbek officials think the material could be cesium or uranium?
14.(S/NF) This was the opinion of a technical expert who saw the alarm printout. The expert provided no further explanation.
15.(SBU) Action officers at post for handling incident are Fred Carter and Steven Prohaska, reachable via xxxxxxxxxxxx and xxxxxxxxxxxx and xxxxxxxxxxxx.