Article first published as US Couple Charged Passing Nuclear Secrets, Couple Denies on Technorati.
A US couple is charged with trying passing information of US nuclear secrets to a fake Venezuelan agent. Venezuela has no actual role in this fake espionage. The team is of a husband and his wife. Argentina born Mr. Pedro Mascheroni and his wife were contractors at Los Alamos National Laboratory, a centre for US nuclear research.
Mr. Mascheroni of age 75 worked as a nuclear physicist at the laboratory from 1979 and 1988. He was removed from his job after criticizing a US nuclear funding priorities. He was denied funding for his project of developing a laser technology. Mrs. Mascheroni worked as a technical writer and editor from 1981 to 2010.
The couple is said to have access to nuclear secrets, including design and manufacture of nuclear weapons. Mr. Mascheroni is accused of meeting an FBI agent, posing as a Venezuelan intelligence operative two years ago and saying, he would help Venezuela develop a nuclear bomb. He was also accused of telling the agent he would help the Latin American country produce nuclear energy.
Mrs. Mascheroni is accused of helping her husband prepare a document containing the nuclear secrets. The document was then handed to the FBI agent posing as a Venezuelan secret service. The justice department warned the US’ people of wrongdoing of this kind.
Mr and Mrs Mascheroni rejected the allegations. The investigation surrounding Mascheroni, Mr Mascheroni said, involves his dealings with a man representing himself to be from the Venezuelan government in an attempt to spark U.S. congressional interest in a laser fusion project he developed.
Mascheroni agreed saying his intention was to show the U.S. congress that another country saw merit in his laser program so they would convene hearings in which he could convince them that his program would benefit humankind.
The laser technology developed by Mascheroni would eliminate the need for nuclear testing as claimed by Mascheroni. He said the information in the documents handed over to the man supposedly from Venezuela could be found on the internet and it was not classified.
As the environmental concerns on rise at the governments’ level, various nations are looking for clean energy resources. Nuclear energy, that has lost influence after series of leaks and deadly accidents, has become the latest favourite resource of energy for several countries.
Iran, despite having oil and gas resources, has been pursuing for nuclear energy amid international fears that it is opting acquire technology of making weapons. With persistent pressures from the US, the Security Council has recently ratified a resolution slapping fourth round of sanctions on Iran. The president of Iran described the resolution as a ‘used handkerchief’ to be thrown into the dustbin.
Venezuela has become a leading force in Latin America, supposed to be backyard of the US by the imperial power. Venezuela is the first country under the leadership of Hugo Chavez to defy the WTO agreement and follow its own economic path, after a failed coup to dethrone Chavez, sponsored by the US.
In this background, it cannot be rule out that the US began an exercise of branding Venezuela as another nuclear weapons pursuing country. There is well-known saying that give a dog a bad name and hang him. Maybe Venezuela is next to Iran.