- Key Obamacare official: Last two months much harder than anyone hoped
- Sen. Mike Lee: We must stop ‘the prez’ from acting like the queen
- George Bush consoles embattled Alabama kicker Cade Foster: You will be stronger
- Megachurch pastor with ties to Obama commits suicide
- WaPo to readers: Send us your ‘gun violence’ stories for Sandy Hook anniversary
- U.S. threatens Ukraine with sanctions over dispatch of riot police
- Canada doing away with door-to-door mail delivery by 2018
- NSA chief defends phone spying: ‘There is no other way’
- Hawaii Health Department head killed in plane crash
- Colorado school drops sexual harassment label on boy who kissed girl’s hand
Libya’s missiles, chemicals worry U.S.
Agencies looking to secure arsenal
Question of the Day
“We have been monitoring known missile and chemical-agent storage facilities since the start of this conflict and will continue to do so,” he said. “We also continue to monitor storage sites of the Libyan stockpile of uranium yellowcake. I am not going to go beyond how we do these things other than to say we are using national technical means.”
“National technical means” refers to the overhead satellite and aircraft surveillance the U.S. government has used for decades to monitor known missile and nuclear facilities all over the world.
Victoria Nuland, the State Department spokeswoman, said “known missile and chemical agent storage facilities remain secure, and we’ve not seen any activity, based on our national technical means, to give us concern that they have been compromised.”
Regarding nuclear-related goods, the International Atomic Energy Agency estimates that Libya holds 2,000 tons of yellowcake uranium stored mainly at a facility in the southern town of Sebha.
“At this point, it’s a big amount. If you want to just remove [it], it’s a major effort. It’s packed in drums and would require a major operation,” said Olli Heinonen, deputy director general for safeguards at the International Atomic Energy Agency from 2005 to 2010.
Mr. Heinonen, now at Harvard University, said the Gadhafi regime wanted to sell the yellowcake uranium a few years ago, but he thinks the regime decided against that.
Mr. Heinonen said the material would be of interest mainly as a precursor to making nuclear fuel, but in and of itself it would not be useful as a weapon. “If you put it in a public place, it’s a problem,” he said. “But it’s less of a problem compared to other radioactive material.”
One U.S. official said the State Department has sent technical specialists to meet with the Transitional National Council and to help alert Libya’s neighbors about the possible transshipment of weapons across the country’s borders.
Another U.S. intelligence officer, who asked not to be named, said the United States also was relying on contractors to monitor known weapons sites.
“We don’t have much in the way of ground forces,” this official said. “Someone was supposed to be doing this. The Qataris and Emiratis were supposed to do it; they had their special forces on the ground, and there are contractors too. They were supposed to do site security and make sure nothing has been touched.”
The U.S. Special Operations Command has special units of commandos that are prepared to go to foreign countries, including North Korea, to destroy or secure foreign weapons sites. It could not be learned whether commando units are set for operations in Libya.
© Copyright 2013 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
By Matt Kibbe
The short-term deal will assure long-term overspending
- NAPOLITANO: A conspiracy so vast
- All-out war breaks out in GOP over budget pact
- Biden guarantees victory on immigration reform
- Washington Post to readers: Send us your gun violence stories for Sandy Hook anniversary
- Teen thugs in D.C. run wild -- even while wearing GPS ankle bracelets
- MALCOLM/REIMER: Over-criminalization undermines respect for legal system
- Obama takes 'selfie' at Mandela's funeral service
- MILLER: Dick Heller challenges D.C.s gun registration, files for summary judgment in Heller II
- Study IDs reasons for late-term abortions
- Chinese man fed up with his girlfriend's shopping jumps to his death
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Positive propaganda for a nation in peril.
Politics, economics, and business from a real world perspective.
All of the world’s problems, solved on your back porch
Al Maurer provides a common sense, conservatarian, Constitutional conservative perspective from the battleground state of Colorado
Extraordinary day at Redskins Park
White House pets gone wild!
Let it snow