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12 januari 2009

The nuclear emergency search team USA 1974-1996

Declassified Documents Depict Creation, Capabilities, And Activities of Once-Secret Nuclear Counterterrorism Unit

The U.S. government's secret nuclear bomb squad evaluated more than 100 nuclear extortion threats and incidents between 1974 and 1996 but only a dozen required actual deployments (the others were hoaxes), according to the new book, Defusing Armageddon, and key primary sources posted today in the National Security Archive's "Nuclear Vault" by Archive senior fellow Jeffrey T. Richelson.

The Nuclear Emergency Search Team (NEST) had the capacity in 1996 of deploying up to 600 people and over 150 tons of equipment to an incident site, but all deployments to that point had been much smaller (a maximum of 45 people), according to the documents. A subsequent Web posting will cover the NEST from 1997 through the present.

Managed by the Nevada Operations Office of the Department of Energy (and its predecessors), NEST drew personnel from key national laboratories--Los Alamos, Sandia, Livermore--and their contractors. On an everyday basis NEST personnel worked in a multitude of areas--including weapons design, diagnostics, health physics, and information technology--and were called into action for exercises or actual deployments.

Today's posting of twenty-four documents includes, but is not limited to: national intelligence estimates on the threat of clandestine attack, the directive resulting in the creation of NEST, examples of extortion letters and the psycholinguistic analysis of such letters, accounts of NEST participation in the effort to locate the remains of a Soviet nuclear-powered satellite that crashed into the Canadian wilderness in 1978, documents concerning the controversial 1994 MIRAGE GOLD exercise and its aftermath, and briefing material concerning NEST's mission as well as its human and technical capabilities.

The documents were obtained by Archive Senior Fellow Jeffrey T. Richelson while conducting research for his new book, Defusing Armageddon: Inside NEST, America's Secret Nuclear Bomb Squad.

Visit National Security Archive's "Nuclear Vault" for more information.
(bron: persbericht NSA)