Russian Ex-Spy Says Nukes Hidden in California
At a 25 January 2000 congressional hearing held in Los Angeles, California, a former Russian military intelligence officer repeated allegations that Soviet agents had hidden small atomic demolition munitions (ADMs) [sometimes referred to as 'nuclear suitcases'] at sites in the United States. Colonel Stanislav Lunev, who defected to the United States and is now in the federal witness protection program, wore a black bag over his face at the hearing and used an electronic device to disguise his voice. He previously voiced these allegations in his 1998 book, Through the Eyes of the Enemy (see abstract 19980480). Charges that Soviet agents hid caches of weapons and sabotage equipment in the United States have also been made by Vasilii Mitrokhin, author of The Sword and the Shield, a 1999 book based on documents Mitrokhin smuggled out of the KGB archives in Moscow (see abstract 19990900). Information from the Mitrokhin documents led to the discovery of two such caches in Western Europe, and the documents suggested that similar caches had been placed in the United States. [The caches uncovered in Western Europe, however, did not contain any nuclear weapons.] Lunev, who claims to have participated in the siting of such caches in the United States, told the hearing that he cannot provide their exact locations, because he only surveyed possible sites, which were then to be established by other agents. He added that he had no idea if small ADMs were ever actually placed at those sites. Lunev insisted, however, that 'I had very clear instructions: These dead-drop positions would need to be for all types of weapons, including nuclear weapons.' The hearing was conducted by two Republican members of the US House of Representatives, Dan Burton (R-IN), and Joe Scarborough (R-FL). Together with their colleague Representative Curt Weldon (R-PA), they have accused the Clinton administration of taking insufficient action in response to the allegations. Burton said the hearing was held in California since the state is allegedly one of the sites of such caches. He denied trying to create 'paranoia and a new Cold War,' but as one news report put it 'by the time the hearing ended, no one had been able to do more than speculate that there were dead drop sites for Russian weapons in California.' In response to the hearing, a US State Department official said that while the administration is taking the charges seriously, 'we understand that the FBI investigation to date has not produced evidence of such arms caches in the United States.'
Abstract Number: 20000020
Headline: Russian Ex-Spy Says Nukes Hidden in California
Date: 25 January 2000
Bibliography: UPI, 25 January 2000
Author: Russian Ex-Spy Says Nukes Hidden in California
 Linda Deutsch, 'House Holds Hearings on Russian Espionage,' AP, 26 January 1999.
This material is produced independently for NTI by the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies at the Monterey Institute of International Studies and does not necessarily reflect the opinions of and has not been independently verified by NTI or its directors, officers, employees, or agents. Copyright © 2011 by MIIS.
This article is part of a collection examining reported incidents of nuclear or radioactive materials trafficking in or originating from the Newly Independent States.
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