TBR News March 8, 2019

Mar 08 2019

The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Isaiah 40:3-8 

Washington, D.C. March 8, 2019 ”The educational level in America today is so low one needs a well-drilling tool to see it. The average Millennial has very little general knowledge but is an expert at text messaging useless nonsense to others of his stripe.

One of them told me Egypt was in South America but another said it was next to Australia. Their pockets are full of childish electronic toys that enable them to exchange useless information with others.

This is due, almost entirely, to a public school system that would do justice to a similar system in Uganda and a system run by teachers who are so stupid they couldn’t pour urine out of a boot if the directions were on the heel.

Both Millennial men and women like to wear layered clothing.

A woman will have knee-length blue socks, mis-matched golf shoes, three skirts, one apron and five sweaters to keep her warm and encourage the development of body lice while her male counterpart wears bib overalls, two shirts and three sweaters with the same goal.

Even with a PhD from Bad Seepage University in Advanced Basket Weaving, all a male Millennial can find in the work market is the shepherding of twittering autistics to the local park to root for small insects and the occasional worm that pops its head above ground.

He puts them, dog collars and all, on a gang leash and has to walk to the park because he is forbidden to put them on public transportation because many of them are known to bite.”

The Table of Contents

  • Trump’s lying ears
  • The how, what and why of a Trump lie
  • Evaluation of Mr. Trump as an asset for Russian interests
  • The CIA Confessions: The Crowley Conversations
  • Soviet/Russian Atomic Demolition Munitions


Trump’s lying ears

March 6, 2019

by Kathleen Parker

The Item

WASHINGTON – If he were alive today, Mark Twain might say the following: “There’s lies, damned lies – and Donald Trump.” The president of the United States not only lies routinely, but he believes other people’s lies without a modicum of skepticism.

This past week, the liar in question was North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, who claimed to have known nothing about what appears to have been the torture and, ultimately, murder of American college student Otto Warmbier. After holding a second nuclear summit for which he was grossly unprepared, this time in Vietnam, Trump said Kim “tells me that he didn’t know about it, and I will take him at his word.” He added that Kim “felt badly about it. He felt very badly.”

Right. Because Kim’s empathy and compassion toward his starving countrymen and those he has had killed, allegedly including his half-brother, are legendary.

It is mind-numbing and breathtaking to hear such nonsense from a president, who, if normal, would vindicate the victim through punitive actions rather than side with a violent dictator in some weird, contrived, non-productive chit-chat about nuclear weapons. Warmbier’s parents were appropriately outraged by the president’s cavalier comments – especially since he had used the Warmbiers as props during his 2018 State of the Union address – and they issued a harsh rebuke.

The 21-year-old Warmbier had been touring North Korea when on Jan. 2, 2016, while going through airport security to leave the country, he was detained by North Korean authorities. He was accused of stealing a propaganda poster from the Pyongyang hotel where he was staying. No conclusive evidence was provided that he did so, but he was sentenced to 15 years of hard labor.

After 17 months, Warmbier was sent home in a coma, having suffered severe brain damage from possible multiple beatings, and he died a few days later. His brutal death was surely no accident, as Cindy and Fred Warmbier asserted in their statement rebuking Trump, nor was it likely unknown to Kim, whose Supreme Leadership doesn’t leave much wiggle room for independent action.

No one familiar with North Korea believes that Kim wasn’t well aware of his American captive. How could he have been after a year and a half of international news coverage and outreach from the U.S. State Department? Thus, make no mistake, Warmbier’s death was as much an assault on America as it was on this young American son.

But Trump, who confessed to having a “warm relationship” with Kim, based presumably on whatever pheromones passed between them, said he believed the man he previously called “little rocket man.” This is because the president is (a) a useful idiot; (b) a malevolent force in the universe; (c) a small-pawed, big-dog fanboy; (d) a strategic genius.

I think most of us can eliminate option d.

Option c is probable given Trump’s strange attraction to tyrants, dictators, murderers and thieves. He has used similar terminology with other strongmen, with whom he has been equally credulous. Trump believed Russian President Vladimir Putin when he denied knowing about Russian interference with the 2016 presidential election. And he believed Saudi Prince Mohammad bin Salman when he denied knowing anything about the torture, murder and dismemberment of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi.

At the same time Trump believed their lies, he disbelieved the conclusions of American intelligence agencies, which, in each case, pointed a finger at the top guys. How could it be otherwise?

Even if we pretend that Trump is a strategic genius who is flattering his foes by faking belief in their lies, one is left to wonder to what end? To win their approval? To soften them for the next round? To charm them into believing he’s one of them, that they are essentially the same but for minor differences resolvable through the art of the deal?

If only he were trying to seize a widow’s home to make space for a new limo parking lot at one of his casinos. Or negotiating a new Trump tower in Moscow.

But the stakes are a little higher now. And Trump, in trying to be a tough guy, has created the opposite perception.

What every foreign ruler, dictator, president or potentate now knows is that every American tourist, journalist, college student or diplomat is fair game for capture, arrest, hostage-taking, torture or murder – all without consequence. All they have to do is lie to the president, a proven weakling, and the bad thing that happened will just go away.

The American people must not let him get away with it.


The how, what and why of a Trump lie

by Jay Bookman

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Donald Trump lies with an audacity and on a scale never before seen in American politics, and it’s tempting to get so caught up in the showmanship of it all that you miss what makes it work.

So let me propose a different approach. Instead of focusing on the number and scale of Trump’s lies, what if we focused more intently on one oft-repeated, run-of-the-mill Trump lie? Maybe by putting that one lie under a microscope, we can see how it functions, what it accomplishes, what messages it sends and how he gets away with it, if he does.

Here’s the lie, as Trump put it in a rally last March and which he continues to repeat in some form in rallies and press conferences:

“Hey, didn’t we surprise them with women during the election? Remember? ‘Women won’t like Donald Trump,’” he said, mimicking a cable news analyst. “I said, ‘Have I really had that kind of a problem? I don‘t think so.’ But: ‘Women won’t like Donald Trump. It will be a rough night for Donald Trump because the women won’t come out.’ We got 52 percent.”

According to 2016 exit polls, Trump got trounced among women voters, with Hillary Clinton winning 54 percent while Trump got just 41 percent. So why does he keep lying about it?

Well, the first mission of any Trump lie is to make Trump himself look and feel better. In this case, he lies because he fears he can’t be seen as a strong and virile leader if women don’t like him. Therefore, he must pretend women like him. Trump is asserting that he can say and do anything he wants with women and that thanks to his raw animal magnetism, they’ll still support him.

That’s ugly, but go one level deeper and it gets worse.

Trump did get 52 percent of the vote of one subset of women — white women. So his claim that “we got 52 percent of women” is a none-too-subtle way of saying that it is only white women who matter, that black, Latina and Asian women don’t count. This is not an accident; its inaccuracy has been pointed out far too many times, and it has been repeated far too many times by Trump, for it to be accidental. He leaves that implication because he wants that implication.

That leads us to another truth about Trump: Getting the facts right doesn’t matter; what matters is getting the attitude right. And from the point of view of Trump and his audience, the attitude reflected in Trump’s false claim is perfect. On multiple levels, it tells them exactly what they want to hear. It’s also a game of sorts: Trump pretends to tell his audience the truth, they pretend to believe it, and in that shared pretense a sort of bonding occurs. He can lie without regard to the consequences because he has built a following with whom there are no consequences.

Eventually, though, even Trump lies get tested against reality. Trump claims to have solved the North Korea nuclear problem, but North Korea continues to build nuclear missile sites. He claims to be popular with women, but women themselves have a very different opinion.

In 2016, Trump lost women by 13 points. In 2018, Republicans running as his proxy lost women by 19 points.

In 2016, Trump lost white women with a college degree by seven points. In 2018, Republicans lost college-educated white women by 20 points, dooming suburban candidates such as Karen Handel in the Georgia 6th.

In 2016, Trump won white women without a college degree by 27 points; in 2018, that advantage was cut in half.

In short, telling lies and ardently believing lies can’t make the lies come true. Reality wins, always. It just takes a little time.


Evaluation of Mr. Trump as an asset for Russian interests

Оценка г-на Трампа как актива для интересов России

Russian intelligence has had an interest in Donald Trump since the year 1977 when we received an alert from a sister unit in Prague.

He was described as impressionable young man with large ambitions and money from his family real estate business.

His marriage to a Czech woman whose father was an element in that countries’ intelligence agency brought him to our attention and we went to some lengths to ascertain his potential value for Russian interests.

The initial impression of Mr. Trump was that he was extremely self-important and egotistical to a remarkable degree.

As our first hand knowledge of him progressed it became evident that Mr. Trump fancied himself as a man to whom beautiful women were attracted.

That they were attracted to his money is more evident.

Although it is true he is a person with whom one could establish good business contacts, Mr. Trump was, and is, an overbearing and intolerant person.

He is subject to mood-swings in that what is acceptable today is not tomorrow.

He is easily led by women to whom he is initially very attentive and once he feels he had their purchased loyalty, proceeds to turn his attentions to other women.

It was our experience with Mr. Trump that by supplying him a number of beautiful Russian women, he became besotted and was willing to agree to almost any proposal presented to him.

As a businessman, Mr. Trump is erratic in the extreme. He owes very large sums of money, for example, to the Deutsche Bank, sums he somehow forgets to pay. He also owes large sums to Russian banks but in this case, he dare not neglect to pay.

Although he and President Putin got on well together, Mr. Trump’s promises ought to be taken very cautiously.

Mr. Trump is so convinced of his superiority to others and so easy to influence that promises to one person could easily be forgotten when making identical promises to another.

His current wife, Melanija Knavs, has produced a son and this boy, quite attractive, is the idol of his mother. She has stated to one of our people that she is not happy with her marriage because of her husband’s constant, and often very obnoxious, persuit of other women and does not want her young son to associate with his father lest he hear Mr. Trump’s constant flow of foul and obscene language or see him grab at some woman’s breasts.

She planned to divorce him and take her son back to Yugoslavia but the scandal would do so much damage to Mr. Trump’s public image that she was dissuaded from divorce by the payment of a large sum of money and promises on the part of Mr. Trump to let his wife rear and be responsible for his son.

Insofar as his use to Russian interests, this is problematical due to Mr.Trump’s disturbed personality. He does recall, however, that we released unpleasant material about Mrs. Clinton and that the same sort of material could very easily be released about him.

On the one hand, he has no problem taking Russian money for his businesses but on the other, he is susceptible to pressure from American power groups such as the Christian religious sector, Jewish groups and the military which have virtual control of current American politics and governance.


The current American President is directly descended from the German Trumpf family. His ancestor in the direct line was Johannes Trump(f), a native of the village of Kallstadt.

The same Trumpf family also produced one Arnold Wilhelm August Trumpf.

Arnold Trumpf was Vorstand Reichsverband Deutscher Landwirtschaftlicher Genossenschaften-Raiffensene.V and Hauptabteilungsleiter III of the Reichsnahrstand, Allegemeine SS since 1934.

Trumpf was a director of the Reichsbank.

SS background of Arnold Trumpf:

SS-Oberführer / Leutnant d.R. a.D.

Born: 27. Oct. 1892 in Gifhorn

Died: 7. January 1985 in Garmish-Partenkirchen

NSDAP-Nr.: 389 920 from 1, December 1930

SS-Nr.: 187 119


SS-Oberfuhrer: 30. Jan. 1939


Bei dem RuS-Hauptamt: (9. Nov. 1944)

Decorations & Awards:

1914 Eisernes Kreuz II. Klasse

Kriegsverdienstkreuz II. Klasse ohne Schwerter

Verwundetenabzeichen, 1918 in Schwarz

Ehrenkreuz fur Frontkampfer

Ehrendegen des RF SS

Totenkopfring der SS

The RuSHA was founded in 1931 by Reichsführer-SS Heinrich Himmler

Among their duties were:

  • Kidnapping of children suitable for Germanization
  • Population transfers
  • The persecution and liquidation of Jews


The RuSHA also employed Josef Mengele from November 1940 to early 1941, in Department II of its Family Office, where he was responsible for “care of genetic health” and “genetic health tests”


  • http://de.metapedia.org/wiki/Trumpf,_Arnold
  • Das Deutsche Führerlexikon, Otto Stollberg G.m.b.H., Berlin 1934
  • Dienstaltersliste der Schutzstaffel der NSDAP 9, November 1944


The CIA Confessions: The Crowley Conversations

March 8, 2019

by Dr. Peter Janney

On October 8th, 2000, Robert Trumbull Crowley, once a leader of the CIA’s Clandestine Operations Division, died in a Washington hospital of heart failure and the end effects of Alzheimer’s Disease. Before the late Assistant Director Crowley was cold, Joseph Trento, a writer of light-weight books on the CIA, descended on Crowley’s widow at her town house on Cathedral Hill Drive in Washington and hauled away over fifty boxes of Crowley’s CIA files.

Once Trento had his new find secure in his house in Front Royal, Virginia, he called a well-known Washington fix lawyer with the news of his success in securing what the CIA had always considered to be a potential major embarrassment.

Three months before, on July 20th of that year, retired Marine Corps colonel William R. Corson, and an associate of Crowley, died of emphysema and lung cancer at a hospital in Bethesda, Md.

After Corson’s death, Trento and the well-known Washington fix-lawyer went to Corson’s bank, got into his safe deposit box and removed a manuscript entitled ‘Zipper.’ This manuscript, which dealt with Crowley’s involvement in the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, vanished into a CIA burn-bag and the matter was considered to be closed forever.

The small group of CIA officials gathered at Trento’s house to search through the Crowley papers, looking for documents that must not become public. A few were found but, to their consternation, a significant number of files Crowley was known to have had in his possession had simply vanished.

When published material concerning the CIA’s actions against Kennedy became public in 2002, it was discovered to the CIA’s horror, that the missing documents had been sent by an increasingly erratic Crowley to another person and these missing papers included devastating material on the CIA’s activities in South East Asia to include drug running, money laundering and the maintenance of the notorious ‘Regional Interrogation Centers’ in Viet Nam and, worse still, the Zipper files proving the CIA’s active organization of the assassination of President John Kennedy..

A massive, preemptive disinformation campaign was readied, using government-friendly bloggers, CIA-paid “historians” and others, in the event that anything from this file ever surfaced. The best-laid plans often go astray and in this case, one of the compliant historians, a former government librarian who fancied himself a serious writer, began to tell his friends about the CIA plan to kill Kennedy and eventually, word of this began to leak out into the outside world.

The originals had vanished and an extensive search was conducted by the FBI and CIA operatives but without success. Crowley’s survivors, his aged wife and son, were interviewed extensively by the FBI and instructed to minimize any discussion of highly damaging CIA files that Crowley had, illegally, removed from Langley when he retired. Crowley had been a close friend of James Jesus Angleton, the CIA’s notorious head of Counterintelligence. When Angleton was sacked by DCI William Colby in December of 1974, Crowley and Angleton conspired to secretly remove Angleton’s most sensitive secret files out of the agency. Crowley did the same thing right before his own retirement, secretly removing thousands of pages of classified information that covered his entire agency career.

Known as “The Crow” within the agency, Robert T. Crowley joined the CIA at its inception and spent his entire career in the Directorate of Plans, also know as the “Department of Dirty Tricks,”: Crowley was one of the tallest man ever to work at the CIA. Born in 1924 and raised in Chicago, Crowley grew to six and a half feet when he entered the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in N.Y. as a cadet in 1943 in the class of 1946. He never graduated, having enlisted in the Army, serving in the Pacific during World War II. He retired from the Army Reserve in 1986 as a lieutenant colonel. According to a book he authored with his friend and colleague, William Corson, Crowley’s career included service in Military Intelligence and Naval Intelligence, before joining the CIA at its inception in 1947. His entire career at the agency was spent within the Directorate of Plans in covert operations. Before his retirement, Bob Crowley became assistant deputy director for operations, the second-in-command in the Clandestine Directorate of Operations.

Bob Crowley first contacted Gregory Douglas in 1993 when he found out from John Costello that Douglas was about to publish his first book on Heinrich Mueller, the former head of the Gestapo who had become a secret, long-time asset to the CIA. Crowley contacted Douglas and they began a series of long and often very informative telephone conversations that lasted for four years. In 1996, Crowley told Douglas that he believed him to be the person that should ultimately tell Crowley’s story but only after Crowley’s death. Douglas, for his part, became so entranced with some of the material that Crowley began to share with him that he secretly began to record their conversations, later transcribing them word for word, planning to incorporate some, or all, of the material in later publication.

Conversation No. 47

Date: Wednesday, November 20, 1996

Commenced: 1:50 PM CST

Concluded: 2:22 PM CST


GD: Good afternoon, Robert. Am I being inconvenient?

RTC: No, Gregory. I’ve finished lunch, done a bit with the Switzers, read the papers and the rest of the day is free. How are you doing? Getting ready for Thanksgiving?

GD: Oh yes. I was reading a Sheldon ‘Furry Freaks’ cartoon that showed a bunch of hippies at Thanksgiving. One of them was making a terrible face and he said to the girlfriend, who had obviously cooked the bird, ‘This stuffing is really terrible. What is it?’ And she replied that it came already stuffed from the organic foods shop. It obviously had not been emptied of its innards and I was wondering how much of it they ate.

RTC: Typical long-hair stupidity. I take it your turkey is not from an organic turkey farm?

GD: Free range turkeys? No, they stuff them in little pens, fatten them and then into the eye with the icepick and into the defeathering machine. As Cromwell was supposed to have said about Charles I, ‘Cruel necessity.’ But it tastes fine if you aren’t socially conscious.

RTC: It smacks of the concentration camp soap stories.

GD: And don’t forget the shrunken heads and the lampshades while you’re at it, Robert. We mustn’t be callous and forget the crime of the century. Of course, it’s interesting that the Turkish murders of a million unarmed Armenians some years ago seems to be strangely forgotten.

RTC: Well, the Israelis are friends with Turkey and since they run the media here, they have an understanding about that. There can’t be stories that would eclipse their very own big money maker and which at the same time would offend one of their only allies.

GD: Oh, the bitter realities of realpolitik. You recall talking about the Pedophile Academy you people run?

RTC: I do. You aren’t interested in joining, are you?

GD: No, actually, I lust after sheep. Just think of it as Farrah Fawcett in a fur coat and all will come out in the end.

RTC: A pun is the lowest form of humor, Gregory.

GD: I know and I am so ashamed, but they do look so cute in lacy panties.

RTC: I am certain you’re joking, Gregory. Do you have lamb at Easter?

GD: Sir, think you I am so callous? Months of true love to be followed by sordid death and the roasting pan? Terrible, Robert, terrible. Oh well, I suppose there in our imperial city things are really pure and noble.

RTC: Hardly. You mentioned the kiddie’s club. There’s a lot worse than that in our fair city, believe me.

GD: Oh, I am sure of that. Prominent Evangelical leaders meeting in a basement dungeon while someone like Pat Robertson, dressed in mesh stockings and a feather boa, whipping teen-aged acolytes with a cat of nine tails. I’ve heard Washington is famous for things like that.

RTC: Actually, yes it is. For example, one of the less appetizing aspects of our little Company has been the fairy club.

GD: You mean you hire all those nasty florist types?

RTC: No, I mean we have an entire subsection devoted to the care and feeding of queers. Its under the Science and Technology people and consists of raging homos whose job it is to infiltrate groups of prominent Beltway queers, get the information on them so we can blackmail them into doing what we want. We’ve set up male whorehouses around here, all equipped with special mikes and cameras so we can get the evidence on the creeps and then twist their arms. They staff these places with young military personnel…mostly Marines but quite a few Army people, and naturally sailors. We have a lot of Congressmen in the basket and one hell of a lot of senior military people around to do what we want, not to forget foreign diplomats, important business people and, as you say, some impressive religious leaders. It’s mostly the military that we bag and a large number of the far right and the very fanatical religious types.

GD: That’s not surprising. Most of those people are drawn to strength and a well-muscled Marine with a leather belt is a pretty good illustration of what they consider strength. Far right types like leather boots and domination. I suppose the marks pay for sex?

RTC: Oh, yes, and pay very well. First they pay cash and then they pay later in services. You would be astounded the number of fairies in high places here and most of them are in our little bags. And they do perform for us. A proper vote on yearly cash allotments, no questions asked, shutting off people who don’t like us, promoting or assisting those who are known to be on our good list. We have one Supreme Court justice, at least five appellate court judges, God knows how many senior FBI people, quite a few NSA personnel and, who would be shocked, enough State Department queers to stock a good hotel. I, personally, have nothing to do with this, but my friend Ed is involved in the administration of this and he has mentioned governors, senior senators and so on that he can jerk around at leisure. Of course, we set up the male whorehouses, but never, never have any of our people on the premises. We have surveillance monitors all over the neighborhood and perhaps next door listening to the tapes and turning on the TV cameras but we don’t want one of our straight people bagged if the local cops raid a place. The DC cops are stupid and corrupt beyond belief, but one never knows if they’ll get a wild hair up their ass and pull a raid. If they did, of course, we could quiet it down in the court system here, but it’s better to be safe than sorry. It does pay off, Gregory, and I can assure you that I, personally, have nothing to do with it.

GD: I don’t question that, Robert. Anyone I might know about?

RTC: Oh, God, it would be wonderful if you put all of this into your books, but if you did, don’t talk about it in front or you would have many problems. Faggotry is a fact of life, Gregory, but none of these assholes want to be exposed. Nixon had his times with Bebe Rebozo, too, but of course never in one of our DC peg houses. That never went anywhere, but I know it’s true. There are tapes. We bug all kinds of rendezvous places like certain motels, beach houses and so on. For example, we couldn’t bug Nixon’s place in Florida, but we certainly could bug Rebozo. It’s quite an area of exploitation, Gregory. Once we nailed a very senior Israeli diplomat who liked to be whipped by muscular young blacks and when we wanted some information, Jim just casually showed him some stills from a surveillance tape and you would be amazed how much instant cooperation we got on a certain Arab matter. And speaking of diplomatics, the Saudis are absolutely the worst. They’ll fuck anything in sight if it’s warm, and my, they do have lots of money.

GD: I recall an old Persian poem I once read out loud in Lit class that goes, ’Across the river there is a boy with an ass like a peach, but alas, I cannot swim.’ I had to go home for two days for that but the class had quite a laugh.

RTC: You must indeed have been quite a scholar.

GD: No, I was quite a trouble-maker. One of my teachers once told me, in front of the class, that I was an idiot’s delight. I told her right back that I was pleased to make her so happy. This time, I went on leave for a week.

RTC: Well, she had it coming.

GD: Oh yes, she did. They never liked me in high school, Robert, and the feeling was mutual. Once, I entered a national patriotic essay contest and, by God, I won a big prize. I wrote about the joys of being a patriot and the usual drivel. Anyway, I got the letter at home and I assume the school was told at the same time. Wonderful responses from them. They had planned for a special assembly to honor the gifted one, but no way would they do this for me. Do you know, they actually called me in and suggested, very firmly, that I step aside and let little Robbie the Pig get the prize? This was the son of the local Methodist minister and a real toad. Chubby, whining, self-righteous and a born stool pigeon. Learned the art from dad, no doubt. Anyway, I flatly refused to yield. Then they called my mother and went to work on her. Of course she didn’t need any leaning and for two weeks, I got nothing but stereophonic yammering from both parents. I just wasn’t a good advertisement for the school and a real gentleman would let them have a grand ceremony for Robbie the Pig. I still wouldn’t budge so they sent the award and the check to me at home and I had a hell of a time getting the check away from my father, who tried to keep it. Lovely.

RTC: Not very civilized behavior, Gregory. I think you did the right thing then.

GD: Oh yes, Robert, and I certainly did the right thing about two weeks later.

RTC: I am almost afraid to ask. No more detergent in the school soup pot?

GD: No, this came before that. I felt I had been dishonored, and as Mueller once said to me, I have a fine fourteenth century mind. One cannot permit that sort of thing. My revenge was fairly simple and direct. Of course, no one suspected me, which is a little of a letdown, but the uproar was worth it. In the main hall of the school, right by the front office, was a large, bronze medallion with a depiction of the school symbol on it. It was set into the floor right in front of another bronze piece that listed all the former students of the high school who died in the Second World War. On both sides were flags, and during school hours, two members of the Honor Patrol stood on both sides of the sacred lares and panares to prevent careless or evil students from trampling on the school crest or not saluting, hand on chest, the plaque. My, my, what an inviting and sacred target. I broke into the school one Saturday night, very easy considering the very pickable locks and the better reality that there was no watchman. Now, I suppose, they would have surveillance cameras every ten feet but we were not so advanced then. I got into the chemistry lab, stole two bottles of concentrated nitric acid and a pair of acid-proof lab gloves, went down the hall and poured one bottle all over the floor relic. Much hissing and bubbling and clouds of stinking smoke. The second bottle I uncorked and poured the contents all down the wall piece. Much hissing, smoking and so on. Then, I tossed the bottles into a convenient trash bin and left by the front door. Outside they had the imperial flag pole in the courtyard. Every morning, the royal honor guard attended the morning flag-raising while someone played some raucous piece, off key of course, on a bugle. As a sort of afterthought, I took out my Swiss Army knife and cut the halyards on the pole and pulled down the lines. The pole was about sixty feet tall and set in concrete so replacing the lines would be a major task. My, my, and I felt so good all the way home.

RTC: Your honor had been avenged?

GD: Yes, and the next day, it was even more pleasurable. I had so little to really enjoy in those days, I treasured every moment, believe me. Came into the school and saw no one. Halls empty. For a hopeful moment, I thought that there was no school but it was not to be. Walking around, I came to the main hall which was packed with very emotional fellow students. Weeping girls and outraged boys. I managed to work my up towards the front of the mourners and saw my handiwork, full in the face as it were. It looked like the sacred relics had been made of brown sugar and melted in great gullies. I didn’t obliterate them but you could only see a few letters on the wall plaque and the mess on the floor looked like it had been at the bottom of the sea for a thousand years. Police all over the place, taking pictures, very angry honor students, people in a state of anger and grief. And all over a few crummy pieces of bronze. Oh, yes, and a scene outside where a fat janitor was risking his life on a ladder that kept slipping, to replace the flagpole ropes. They had to get a local fire truck out later on to do the job. Oh, my, and the police, who made Mongoloid idiots look like Harvard graduates, running all over the place with note books, interviewing everyone that would hold still. Massive grief and anger. A special assembly, mandatory attendance, in which the principal and other lesser lights offered a small reward to any snitches listening. You’d have thought someone took the Shroud of Turin and used it for toilet paper. Ah well, these rare and beautiful moments are ones to be treasured.

RTC: Simple but effective, Gregory.

GD: Always smile at a man when you kick him in the balls, Robert. Oh, that thing played out for about a month and then we were all asked to contribute to a replacement venture. When the collection cup came around in my math class, I spit into it. Another moment of perverse happiness. The soaping of the stock pot was a real, transcendent joy for me, but the curtain raiser was almost as much fun. The thought, and the sight, of most of the student body soiling their clothes, and the floors, was good enough to keep me warm for months but the wailing and cursing of my fellow stoats at the scene of the great sacrilege in the upper hall was not to be denigrated.

RTC: Did you ever tell your friend Heinrich Mueller about this?

GD: No. I don’t think he would have approved of it and I admired him. Listen, do you think you might get a list of your limp-wristed victims? Of course, I assure you that I will publish it, know that in front.

RTC: Not while I’m alive, but yes, I think I can accommodate you. Too bad I wouldn’t be around to read about all the suicides or flights from Congress.


(Concluded at 2:22 PM CST)



Soviet/Russian Atomic Demolition Munitions

The Russian-design 1kt suitcase nukes were said to require a complete teardown and rebuild every six months. The physics package was said to be (or be modified from) one used for a 152mm artillery shell.

A Russian 152mm nuclear artillery shell will make a useful suitcase bomb. However, it will weigh over 60lbs

Attention to portable nuclear devices (often referred to as “suitcase nukes”) peaked in 1997-early 1998 following well-publicized allegations by the late governor of Krasnoyarsk Krai and former Russian Security Council Secretary, General (Ret.) Alexander Lebed, that an unknown number of these weapons (possibly as many as several dozen) could not be accounted for. These devices represent probably the greatest threat if they end up in the hands of terrorists due to the combination of small size and full-scale nuclear explosion effects. Interception of “suitcase bombs” is difficult along land borders and practically impossible along maritime borders. At the same time, the political, psychological, and economic effects of a blast from a portable nuclear weapon would be far greater than, for example, those of a “dirty bomb.”

Lebed’s 1997 statements are particularly unnerving because the early 1990s (when, according to him, a number of portable nuclear devices were lost) represented the time of greatest risk with regard to nuclear weapons security in Russia. Governmental institutions were radically weakened, and a dramatic drop in the standard of living made individuals with access to these weapons extremely vulnerable to the temptation of easy illegal profit. Official denials, including the denials that such weapons even existed, are not a sufficient reason for complacency.

  • Second, even if any devices were lost, their effectiveness should be very low or maybe even non-existent, especially if the loss occurred during the period of the greatest risk, in the early 1990s. Without scheduled maintenance, these devices apparently can produce only minimal yield and eventually possibly no yield at all, and can only serve as a source of small amounts of weapons-grade fissile materials.

Information on Portable Nuclear Devices from Russian Open Sources

In a recent interview, the deputy chairman of the Duma Defense Committee, Alexei Arbatov, noted that complete silence had surrounded the subject of portable nuclear devices since the debate of the mid-1990s.[1] Indeed, suitcase nukes often seem a matter of fiction rather than that of fact.

The “mythological” qualities of suitcase nukes derive not only from limited information–this is a common feature in almost everything concerning Russian nuclear weapons–but primarily from the fact that almost all available information dates to a very brief period (the second half of 1997 and early 1998) and is not very reliable.

The “suitcase nukes saga” began in the fall of 1997, when General (Ret.) Alexander Lebed made several statements to the effect that during his short tenure as the Secretary of the Security Council in 1996, he received information that the separatist government in Chechnya possessed small nuclear devices.[8] In an attempt to clarify the situation, he created a special commission under the chairmanship of his assistant, Vladimir Denisov. According to Lebed, the commission was only able to locate 48 such munitions of a total of 132, an indication that 84 were lost (subsequently Lebed changed the total number of suitcase nukes several times, stating in the end that the number was between 100 and 500, but probably closer to 100).[9]

Georgi Kaurov, stated that, like the United States, the Soviet Union produced “very small nuclear weapons,” and that “the ability to manufacture miniature nuclear weapons demonstrates a state’s high level of technology and its ability to create multipurpose and even aesthetically attractive nuclear weapons.”[11] The chief of the 12th GUMO, Igor Valynkin, recently disclosed that the serial number of one of the “suitcases” that Lebed made public, RA-115, represented a “production index” (i.e., the type of munitions) and that the whole type had already been eliminated.[13]

“The Portrait of a Mini-Nuke”

In hindsight, it is clear that statements made by both sides in the 1997-98 debate could have referred to different classes of nuclear devices. One class mentioned was nuclear mines, while another was the portable nuclear devices for Special Forces, which were the subject of Lebed’s statement. Even if portable devices did not exist, one can suspect that some types of nuclear mines were sufficiently small to generate “suspicious” statements by officials. Indeed, statements by MOD and Minatom representatives were worded very carefully and denied the existence of “nuclear suitcases,” but not necessarily the existence of other small nuclear devices. They could thus claim that they were telling the truth even if they knew all along that other small nuclear devices could be portable. The uncertainty about classification could also explain the silence of non-governmental experts.

Nuclear mines are a well-known class of nuclear weapons. They were used by the Engineering troops and deployed along Soviet borders, primarily along the border with China. Nuclear mines were intended to create obstacles in the path of advancing enemy troops by altering the landscape and creating areas with high levels of radioactive contamination. The total stockpile was 700[14]–incidentally, the number Yablokov claimed represented the stockpile of suitcase nukes (and, potentially, evidence that Yablokov did not have adequate knowledge of the subject). Russian official sources reported that, in accordance with the 1991 Presidential Nuclear Initiatives (PNIs), all nuclear mines had been withdrawn to central storage facilities, and their elimination was “almost complete.”[15] Judging from the available information, including from official and semi-official Russian sources, some of these devices were relatively small and could be portable. The often-cited weight was 90 kilograms (kg),[16] and they could have low yield (0.02 to 1 kt).[17]

On the other hand, the existence of smaller devices custom-designed for Special Forces, probably analogous to American small atomic demolition munitions (SADMs), should not be ruled out either. Lebed apparently referred to such munitions in his statements (some sources, including himself, mentioned the weight of 30 kg). Several broad considerations suggest that the story about portable nuclear devices should be taken seriously, with a caveat that their existence cannot be viewed as an established fact.

First and foremost, the very fact that the United States possessed such munitions makes it feasible that the Soviet Union produced them as well, if only to replicate the American experience (the habit of Soviet designers to duplicate American weapons systems or use them to justify their own research is well known from other major projects, such as development of solid-fueled missiles or MIRVed ICBMs). Furthermore, Soviet scientists are known for their propensity to explore every possible avenue, including the most powerful nuclear device; it is only logical to assume that they tried miniaturization as well. An artillery shell for 152-mm howitzers (which, in the Chelyabinsk-70 museum, is advertised as the smallest nuclear munition in the world) testifies to the ability to create a reasonably small and light nuclear explosive device. According to one Russian expert, the size of these shells (15 cm in diameter and 50 cm in length) apparently represents the smallest size of the nuclear device Russian designers were able to achieve (the 130-mm naval guns did not have nuclear shells).[18]

Sifting through available evidence, one can conclude that if such devices existed, they likely had the following characteristics:

  • Small size (60x40x20 cm) and relatively light weight (probably upward of 30 kg). These parameters are generally consistent with available information about Soviet 152-mm artillery shells, as well as with the U.S. SADM.[19]
  • Low yield (less than 1 kt, maybe as low as 0.1 kt).
  • Remained under control of the 12th GUMO (the Main Department at MOD in charge of handling all nuclear devices), were kept at or near MOD Special Forces (Spetsnaz) bases, as well as at central storage facilities, and were intended for transfer to Spetsnaz at short notice.
  • Short life span between scheduled maintenance. According to the chief of the 12th GUMO, Igor Valynkin, small munitions required replacement of components every several months (other sources mentioned six months).[20] Valynkin’s statement is the most direct corroboration of the allegations about the existence of portable nuclear devices. Stationary nuclear mines with such a short warranty period simply did not make sense, while portable devices for use behind enemy lines could still be acceptable.
  • Were likely equipped with reasonably sophisticated permissive action links (PALs), which should preclude unauthorized use. Also, there is unconfirmed information that some small nuclear devices (munitions for 152-mm howitzers) were kept during peacetime in “half-assembled” state, i.e., parts were kept separately, although quick assembly in the case of war was possible.

Several of these statements require an in-depth discussion.

Control of portable nuclear devices is a highly contentious issue, and there has been little data except the claim of the 12th GUMO that it controlled all nuclear weapons and Yablokov’s claim that nuclear suitcases were controlled by the KGB. The latter claim appears insufficiently credible for two reasons.

First, the mission of portable nuclear devices should have been explosions in the enemy’s rear position during or just prior to the outbreak of war for the purpose of disrupting the infrastructure as well as sabotaging the enemy’s command and communications. This directly points to the MOD Spetsnaz as the likely custodian of these weapons since this use of the devices closely matches its type of missions. Spetsnaz representatives flatly denied possession of nuclear weapons,[21] but their statements might refer to the fact that in peacetime, nuclear weapons remained in the custody of the 12th GUMO and were released to troops at a special command.

In contrast, the first KGB Spetsnaz group, Alpha, was created in 1974,[22] whereas miniature nuclear devices were probably created in the 1960s, as in the United States or, at the latest, in the early 1970s. Until the end of the 1970s, KGB Spetsnaz was small and consisted of just one group. Furthermore, its mission was, from the very beginning, antiterrorist operations, in particular, rescue of hostages (the group was established immediately following the terrorist acts during the Olympic Games in Munich). The first combat mission of KGB Spetsnaz was in 1979 in Kabul, where they participated in the capture of Amin’s palace. Thus, possession of nuclear weapons was simply not in line with its mission.

One should be sensitive to the possibility that GRU Spetsnaz, as well as KGB Spetsnaz, if necessary, could have used the smaller versions of nuclear mines, which were technically within the purview of the Engineering Troops. Valynkin’s statement that one type of nuclear device mentioned by Lebed had been completely eliminated is an indirect corroboration of that hypothesis since all or almost all nuclear mines were eliminated during the 1990s. In that case, however, it cannot be doubted that during peacetime, portable nuclear mines remained in the custody of the 12th GUMO.

A short maintenance schedule is an intriguing feature of portable nuclear devices, which is particularly important from the counterterrorism perspective: If that information is correct, such devices would be useless or have limited utility after only a few years, begging the question of whether terrorists would envision the same purpose for such devices as the Soviet Union. The period between routine maintenance–only six months–might seem very short, but short maintenance periods appear to be a typical feature of all Soviet warheads.

Without detailed knowledge of the design of Soviet warheads, it would be impossible to know which components needed replacement at what time intervals. Two potential candidates are tritium and the neutron generator, which may use radioactive materials that decay over time. It seems possible, for example, that Soviet designers balanced on the threshold, using only just enough plutonium to achieve critical mass and relied on tritium to generate required yield. In that case, even modest degradation of tritium could have resulted in a significant drop of yield. Thus, it would be safe to assume that without proper maintenance, portable nuclear devices might still produce chain reaction, but yield would be minimal, and with time, possibly non-existent.

PALs were apparently introduced no later than in the mid- to late 1970s. Consequently, portable nuclear devices produced before that time probably did not have sophisticated means of preventing unauthorized use. Regardless, there is reason to believe that most of them eventually were equipped with such devices: Due to their short service life, they had to return to production facilities for a major overhaul (reportedly, service life of Soviet strategic warheads was about 15 years). During the disassembly-assembly process, the devices could have been fitted with better protection devices. Warheads produced in the late 1960s or in the 1970s should have undergone major maintenance at least once by the time of the breakup of the Soviet Union.

Assessment of the Scenarios of Loss

It is, of course, impossible to reliably verify Lebed’s claim that nearly a hundred of these miniature nuclear devices could not be accounted for in 1996. According to Vladimir Denisov, the chair of the special commission established by Lebed in 1996 to account for suitcase nukes, the commission was able to account for the portable nuclear devices that had been present in the territory of Russia prior to 1990 or 1991, but could not vouch for the ones that could have remained in the territories of other former Soviet republics.[23] This leaves three possible scenarios of loss of such devices: (1) some of them remained outside Russia when nuclear weapons were consolidated in the early 1990s; (2) a handful of such devices were assembled outside Russia using components that could have been produced or stolen; or (3) they were lost inside Russia, most likely in the early 1990s. The first two scenarios were implied by Denisov, while the third simply appears logical and requires attention. The following section assesses the probability of loss under each of these three scenarios.

Loss of Suitcase Nukes Outside Russia

The loss of nuclear explosive devices might have occurred in the early 1990s, just prior to or during the transfer of all nuclear weapons to the Russian territory. Tactical nuclear weapons were stored in the territories of all 15 republics that made up the Soviet Union. According to Lebed, portable devices were kept in republics around the perimeter of Soviet territory, which makes the Baltic states, Belarus, Ukraine, and South Caucasus particularly suspicious from the point of view of control of portable nuclear devices (since the Soviet Union was geared for a war with NATO, it is likely that nuclear weapons intended for use by Spetsnaz forces would be kept close to borders with NATO).

The period of 1990-91 was marked with increasing chaos, the emergence of nationalist and/or pro-independence movements in some republics, in particular in Ukraine, the Baltics, and South Caucasus. Many servicemen joined these organizations, whether openly or secretly, and thus opportunities for unauthorized access to nuclear warheads could not be ruled out.

Several stories published in Russian newspapers in the mid-1990s concentrated on this scenario. One such story, which fit Lebed’s allegation about Chechnya, described the purchase of two 30 kg “rucksack” nuclear devices by Chechen representatives in Lithuania in November 1991-January 1992. Another report about a “Chechen bomb” appeared in the fall of 1999, when Russian troops were starting a new war in Chechnya.[24] The devices were reportedly stolen prior to the transfer of nuclear weapons to Russia and hidden there until sold to Chechnya. It should be noted, however, that Russian newspapers, which published stories about the sale of nuclear weapons to the Chechens, are among the least reliable sources of information in Russia, so their evidence should be taken with a grain of salt. Lebed himself stated that the story about the diversion of portable nuclear devices to Chechnya, which prompted his investigation in the first place, was eventually found to be false.[25] Incidentally, according to former Deputy Secretary of State, Strobe Talbott, Chechen President Jokhar Dudaev approached the U.S. government in 1993 claiming he possessed Soviet nuclear weapons, but could not support his claim.[26]

The assessment of the validity of that scenario should take into account two considerations.

First, accounting and control of nuclear weapons in the Soviet Union was reasonably reliable, if primitive by today’s standards. The troops of the 12th GUMO, which controlled all nuclear devices, were privileged and passed through, by Soviet standards, a very rigorous selection process. In the general chaos of the late 1980s-early 1990s, troops charged with the control of nuclear weapons (the 12th GUMO, the SRF, parts of the Navy and the Air Force) were the last to see the weakening of morale and loyalty. In addition to other selection criteria, these troops were comprised, with few exceptions, of officers, sergeants, and privates of Slavic and, on rare occasions, Baltic origin. Representatives from the Caucasus (especially North Caucasus) or Central Asia, as well as non-Slavic people of Russia, were usually avoided. In this regard, the Baltic republics were, indeed, a likely candidate for the location of possible diversion of nuclear weapons, especially given the intensity of anti-Soviet and anti-Russian sentiment in the late 1980s-early 1990s. Still, the probability of an “insider job” should be judged as remote. Chances are, in 1990-91, the loss of one or several nuclear devices would have been noticed.

Second, all nuclear weapons were withdrawn from the Soviet republics, with the exception of Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Ukraine, to Russia as early as 1990 and definitely no later than the beginning of 1991. The early removal was usually conducted in secret and, in many cases apparently avoided the attention of U.S. intelligence services (Presidential Nuclear Statements in September-October 1991 were reportedly motivated in part by the desire to facilitate the removal of tactical nuclear weapons to Russia from other Soviet republics). This action was motivated by the increasing risk that nuclear weapons might fall into the hands of various political movements that were rapidly developing at that time.

In at least one case, in Azerbaijan, the local pro-independence Popular Front attempted to prevent the removal; the Soviet military had to fire warning shots to disperse the crowd that was blocking the runway at the Air Force base from which bombers with nuclear weapons were taking off. Troops were authorized to use deadly force if necessary, but luckily warning shots were sufficient. This case demonstrated the length to which the Soviet MOD was prepared to go to prevent the seizure of nuclear weapons. Consequently, the possibility that nuclear weapons could have been intercepted and captured by a local group seems low: Information about such an event could not have been concealed within the MOD and, furthermore, we would have known about the use of force to defend or recapture nuclear weapons.

This leaves Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Ukraine as possible candidates for diversion. Tactical nuclear weapons were withdrawn from their territories in 1992, already after the dissolution of the Soviet Union. According to Arab sources, Usama bin Laden attempted to acquire (bought, some newspapers claimed) nuclear weapons in Ukraine (the Ukrainian government denied this[27]) and Kazakhstan, among other countries (including Russia). One uncorroborated report in December 2000 claimed that the intelligence agency of an unnamed European country intercepted a shipment of approximately 20 nuclear warheads–originating from Kazakhstan, Russia, Turkmenistan, and Ukraine–intended for bin Laden and the Taliban regime of Afghanistan.[28] An attempt to acquire “suitcase” weapons was specifically mentioned in relation to Kazakhstan. An Israeli military intelligence report, which was supposedly leaked, claimed that bin Laden paid over £ 2 million to a middleman in Kazakhstan for a “suitcase” bomb. This claim, however, was also uncorroborated by other sources or physical evidence.[29]

Among these three scenarios, the presence of portable devices in Kazakhstan is the least likely, since it was not a border republic. The removal of tactical nuclear weapons from Belarus and Kazakhstan proceeded smoothly, following the same procedure as the removal from other republics in 1990-1991 (i.e., the 12th GUMO remained part of an integrated command and was formally under the authority of the CIS Strategic Deterrence Forces, but in practice answered to the Russian MOD and the President of Russia). In other words, chances of diversion in these two republics should be assessed as about the same as with regard to other republics, except that the situation in 1992 was more chaotic and difficult to control.

Ukraine represented a different case. In 1991, the government announced a decision to become non-nuclear, but in early 1992 began to explore the possibility of keeping nuclear weapons. Of particular concern was the fact that in May 1992, the personnel of “Facilities S”–nuclear storage facilities controlled by the 12th GUMO–began to take the oath of allegiance to Ukraine, effectively meaning that the chain of custody and accounting began to break down. It is impossible to say with any certainty when erosion began–probably not earlier than February, when the transfer of tactical nuclear weapons to Russia was stopped for the first time. Air Force bases, including those with aircraft equipped for nuclear weapons (and with nuclear weapons stored inside the bases) began to take the Ukrainian oath in March 1992.

On the other hand, the removal of tactical nuclear weapons from Ukraine was conducted under a special procedure codified in a Russian-Ukrainian agreement signed in March 1992. This procedure included thorough authentication of each warhead delivered from Ukraine by representatives of both sides, including the checking of serial numbers against the logs kept at the 12th GUMO in Moscow. In effect, the tense Russian-Ukrainian relationship generated a more reliable accounting and verification procedure than was the case with other republics. Consequently, the chance that any weapon entered in central logs remained in Ukraine is very low.

  • A small number of nuclear weapons could have been moved to republics other than Russia in 1990-91, when Soviet institutions were weakened. This theory does not seem plausible either, simply because it would be illogical to send nuclear weapons to republics from which other weapons were being hastily withdrawn (again, possible exceptions are Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Ukraine, where substrategic nuclear weapons remained until mid-1992).
  • Thus, the hypothesis that a number of portable nuclear devices remained outside Russia or were stolen during the transfer to Russia does not appear convincing. Both the circumstances of that transfer and the likelihood that reasonably complete records exist (even though they might be divided among several holders) lead to a conclusion that former republics of the Soviet Union are an unlikely source of unaccounted for suitcase nukes.

Clandestine Production Outside Russia

The possibility that a handful of warheads could be produced outside Russia using components left, purchased, or stolen after the transfer of warheads to Russia was raised during the debate in 1997-98. However, this does not seem plausible: Design and production of nuclear weapons were concentrated solely in Russia, and, in all probability, nuclear research centers in other republics simply lacked specialized knowledge. However, it is possible that such information exists outside Russia, perhaps procured by officials contemplating the possibility of retention of Soviet nuclear weapons. Official and unofficial sources in 1997-98 asserted that the design of miniature nuclear devices was more complex than that of common warheads and could not be performed “at home” (thereby indirectly confirming that small devices did exist in the Soviet Union). In any event, the probability of assembly of a portable nuclear device is much smaller than the probability that a crude nuclear weapon could be assembled in a non-nuclear state or by terrorists.

According to reports in late 1998, including a detailed one in the London-based, Arab daily, Al-Watan Al-Arabi, Chechens acquired approximately 20 “tactical” nuclear weapons from Russian facilities, to be subsequently transferred to bin Laden for a sum of $30 million in cash plus two tons of opium.

  • There is an uncomfortably high probability of “insider threats” from personnel that work or previously worked at storage facilities. Although their salaries and living conditions are usually somewhat better than that of ordinary officers and sergeants, the standard of living is still low by today’s standards. Many officers are forced to take additional jobs “on the side” and could be easily co-opted by criminal organizations or foreign intelligence.
  • All, or at least the majority, of key personnel live inside the outer security perimeter of storage facilities and often do not leave upon retirement unless provided housing by the government, as required by law. In the mid-1990s, for example, nearly 3,500 retired officers continued to live within the closed compounds of the 12th GUMO facilities.[31] Close personal relations among active-duty officers, and between them and retired officers, can facilitate access to inner security perimeters. In at least one case, a retired officer who was still living at a nuclear weapons storage facility was able to arrange access for local criminals to the inner (most secure) zone to steal small arms intended for guards.
  • Security systems at many storage facilities are old and often inadequate; only 47 percent of these facilities so far have been equipped with new fences and other equipment purchased through U.S. funding under the Cooperative Threat Reduction (CTR) program. The power supply is often unreliable. The accounting systems at many of the facilities are antiquated. All these problems continue to haunt nuclear weapons storage sites even today, but conditions were considerably worse in the early 1990s. It is difficult to be confident that any thefts that might have occurred a decade ago would have been noticed.

The situation is similar at production and dismantlement facilities, where components of warheads could be stolen by employees. Workers and engineers were and are plagued by the same woes, and the challenges are further exacerbated by the absence of military discipline (or what remains of it in post-Soviet conditions), as well as greater numbers of facilities and their location in large cities (the “closed” status of these cities offers only limited enhancement of security).


There are sufficient grounds to believe that the Soviet Union had one or more types of portable nuclear devices. Most likely, these were devices designed for the use by Special Forces (Spetsnaz), analogous to the American SADM, or using the physics package similar to that contained in artillery shells. The widely used word “suitcase” is misleading since these devices were quite heavy (no less than 60 lb, probably considerably more), but they could have been moved by one, but more likely, two people.

  • Probably the most convincing evidence is the fact that no terrorist group has used such a device or even credibly threatened its use. There have been many instances, especially during the first and the second, ongoing wars in Chechnya. Yet, the worse case so far was limited to the burying of a container with radioactive isotopes in a Moscow park. Since the majority of feasible scenarios involve Chechens, and since the period of greatest risk was in the early 1990s, the inactivity of Chechens in this matter is significant.


  • The risk of loss of nuclear weapons was the greatest in the early 1990s within the territory of Russia itself. At that time, large numbers of nuclear weapons were transported across the country, often by trains ill-suited for that purpose; accounting could be relatively lax, and personnel was undergoing the period of deepest uncertainty, depression, and precipitous drop in the standard of living. With time, the probability of the loss of portable nuclear devices decreased with gradual increase of stability and, even more important in terms of immediate effect, American assistance, which helped to improve accounting, transportation, and security of nuclear weapons.
  • Even assuming that some portable nuclear devices were lost, it would be very difficult to use them, and it is almost certain that the features that make portable nuclear devices so dangerous (small size and full-scale nuclear explosion effects) will not be taken advantage of.
  • Information about unusually short maintenance periods for these weapons is probably true, although the extent and the pace of deterioration of nuclear weapons’ features cannot be determined from open sources. Since, as it was noted above, the period of greatest risk was in the early 1990s, the stolen devices, if any, have already missed as many as 20 routine component replacement procedures and are probably nearing the end of their service life. Consequently, it is nearly certain that they will be unable to produce the design yield and maybe will not be able to produce any yield at all.
  • Most, if not all, portable nuclear warheads are equipped with some protection devices (e.g., PALs), making their unauthorized use difficult, though not completely impossible.

In effect, portable nuclear devices, if stolen, will hardly be usable, at least not in the fashion that they were originally designed for. They could be, of course, dismantled to extract weapons-grade plutonium, which could then be used in a cruder nuclear device or for a “dirty bomb”; but in this case, the problem of suitcase nukes is virtually indistinguishable from the broader problem of safety and security of all Russian nuclear weapons and weapons-grade fissile materials.


[1] Salavat Suleimanov, “Ne Blagotvoritelnost, a Trezvyi Raschet: Nezavisimoe Voennoe Obozrenie,” July 12, 2002.

[2] Alexei Arbatov, ed., “Yadernye Vooruzheniya i Bezopasnost,” Moscow: Institute of World Economy and International Relations, 1997.

[3] The statement made in 1995 was quoted in Yevgeni Bai, “‘Yadernye Chemodanchiki’ Svplyvayut v Kongresse SShA,” Izvestiya, October 4, 1997.

[4] “Russia: Defense Expert Surikov on Baltic NATO Entry,” (FBIS-SOV-96-085), April 30, 1996.

[5] Ivan Safranchuk, “Takticheskoe Yadernoe Oruzhie v Novom Mire,” a manuscript. The final, shorter version was published under the title “Takticheskoe Yadernoe Oruzhie v Novom Mire i Nestrategicheskie Yadernye Sily Rossii” in the series “Doklady” (Reports) No. 15, March 2000.

[6] Yuri Fedorov, “Substrategicheskoe Yadernoe Oruzhie i Interesy Bezopasnosti Rossii,” Nauchnye Zapiski (Research Papers) No. 16, Moscow: PIR Center, 2001.

[7] Alexei Arbatov, “Deep Cuts and De-alerting: A Russian Perspective,” in Harold Feiveson, ed., The Nuclear Turning Point (Washington, DC: Brookings Institution Press), 1999.

[8] Konstantin Eggert, “General Lebed Nameren Naiti ‘Yadernye Chemodanchiki’,” Izvestiya, October 7, 1997.

[9] Press conference of Alexander Lebed, Interfax News Agency, November 29, 1997; Jeffrey Smith and David Hoffman, “No Support Found for Report of Lost Russian Suitcase-Sized Nuclear Weapons,” Washington Post, September 5, 1997, p. 19; “Is Lebed Russia’s Loosest Cannon? An Exclusive NBC interview with Alexander Lebed,” October 2, 1997, <http://www.msnbc.com>.

[10] Yuri Shchekochikhin, “Vozmozhno My Vse Sidim Na Chemodanakh. Yadernykh,” Novaya Gazeta, September 22, 1997, pp. 1-2; “Former Yeltsin Aide Discusses ‘Pocket-Sized’ Atomic Bombs,” La Stampa, December 27, 1997, p. 8 (FBIS-SOV-97-362).

[11] Interview on Austrian ORT TV channel, December 28, 1997 (FBIS-TAC-97-362). In a different interview, however, Kaurov flatly denied the existence of “suitcase nukes,” described by Lebed and Yablokov. See Stanislav Tarasov and Andrei Filippov, “My Govorim s Nimi Ser’ezno, Oni Otnosyatsya k Nam Kak k Durakam,” Literaturnaya Gazeta, October 1, 1997, p. 3.

[12] Vladimir Georgiev, Igor Frolov,”Burya V Stakane: General-Leitenant Igor Valynkin Zayavlyaet: Yadernoe Oruzhie u Nas Pod Nadezhnoi Zashchitoi,” Nezavivimaya Gazeta, December 2, 1997, p. 1.

[13] Dmitri Safonov, “Individualnaya Planirovka,” Izvestiya, October 27, 2001.

[14] For the number of Russian tactical nuclear weapons in 1991 by category, see Alexei Arbatov, “Sokrashchenie Nestrategicheskikh Yadernykh Vooruzhenii” [Reduction of Non-Strategic Nuclear Weapons], in Alexei Arbatov, ed., Yadernye Vooruzheniya i Bezopasnost Rossii [Nuclear Weapons and Russia’s Security] (Moscow: IMEMO, 1997), p. 56; and Alexei Arbatov, “Deep Cuts and De-Alerting: A Russian Perspective,” in Harold Feiveson, ed., The Nuclear Turning Point (Washington, DC: Brookings Institution Press, 1999), p. 311.

[15] National Report of the Russian Federation on the Implementation of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, April 25, 2000; Statement of the Delegation of the Russian Federation at the First Session of the Preparatory Committee for the 2005 NPT Review Conference Under Article VI of the Treaty (New York), April 11, 2002.

[16] This figure was mentioned in one of the rare statements on portable nuclear devices, which pre-date the scandal generated by Lebed in 1997. A 1995 statement by the director of the Ministry of Defense Ecological Center, Col. Boris Alexeev, was quoted in Yevgeni Bai, “‘Yadernye Chemodanchiki’ Svplyvayut v Kongresse SShA,” Izvestiya, October 4, 1997.

[17] M. Rastopshchin, “Inzhenernyye Boepripasy,” Tekhnika i Vooruzhenie, No. 10 (October 1998), pp. 1-6.

[18] Alexander Shirokorad, “Makaya Bomba Dlya Maloi Voiny,” Nezevisimoe Voennoe Obozrenie, March 6, 1998, p. 6.

[19] According to NRDC, SADMs weighed 74 kg, or 164 lb (the W-54 warhead used in it weighed almost 60 lb); the dimensions of an SADM container were 89x66x66 cm (35x26x26 in). Thomas B. Cochran, William M. Arkin, and Milton M. Hoenig, Nuclear Weapons Databook, Volume 1: U.S. Nuclear Forces and Capabilities (Cambridge, Massachusetts: Ballinger, 1984), p. 60.

[20] Press conference of Igor Valynkin, September 25, 1997 (distributed by Federal News Service). The data was also confirmed, with a reference to an unidentified source in the Ministry of Defense (probably the same Valynkin) in Natalia Timashova, “Nuclear Suitcases Exist Only on Paper,” Segodnia, November 1, 1997, p. 2 (FBIS-TAC-97-307); Vladimir Zaynetdinov, “Ministerstvo Oborony Klyanetsya, Chto Yadernykh Chemodanchikov Ne Bylo i Net,” Izvestia, September 26, 1997.

[21] Alexander Shaburkin, “Voennye Oprovergayut Zayavleniya Lebedya,” Nezavisimaya Gazeta, September 10, 1997, p. 2.

[22] For the history of the Alpha Spetsnaz group, see Mikhail Boltunov, Alpha – Sverkhsekretnyi Otryad KGB (full text of the book is available at <http://www.k26.ru/BoogieMan/Library/Detect/BOLTU001.zip>; Dmitri Konyakhin, “Samoe Sekretnoe Podrazdelenie KGB,” Nezavisimoe Voennoe Obozrenie, May 26, 2000.

[23] David Hoffman, “Suitcase Nuclear Weapons Safely Kept, Russia Says,” Washington Post, September 14, 1997, p. A23.

[24] Boris Vishnevski, “Eto Moglo Sluchitsya Tolko Zdes,” Komsomolskaya Pravda, December 1, 1996, p. 5; Aleksei Andreev, “Yadernaya Bomba Dlya Chechni,” Komsomolskaya Pravda, August 23, 1996; and Yusef Bodanski, “U Terrorista No 1 Yest Atomnaya Bomba,” Komsomolskaya Pravda, October 5, 1999.

[25] Konstantin Eggert, “General Lebed Nameren Naiti ‘Yadernye Chemodanchiki,” Izvestiya, October 7, 1997.

[26] Strobe Talbott, The Russia Hand (New York: Random House, 2002), p. 444 (fn. 2).

[27] “Ukraine Denies Selling Nuclear Weapons to Terrorists,” Interfax Russian News, October 27, 1998.

[28] “Arab Security Sources Speak of a New Scenario in Afghanistan: Secret Roaming Networks that Exchange Nuclear Weapons for Drugs,” Al-Sharq al-Awsat, December 24, 2000, <http://www.asharqalawsat.com>.

[29] Marie Colvin, “Holy War with US in his Sights,” Times (London), August 16, 1998; see also Dmitri Safonov, “‘Kuzkina Mat’ Osamy ben Ladena,” Izvestiya, September 21, 2001.

[30] “Report Links Bin-Ladin, Nuclear Weapons,” Al-Watan Al-Arabi, November 13, 1998 (FBIS FTS19981113001081); Emil Torabi, “Bin Laden’s Nuclear Weapons,” Muslim Magazine (Winter 1998), <http://www.muslimmag.org> (accessed on July 13, 1999, no longer available); Michael Binyon, “Osama Bin Laden Said To Have Acquired Tactical Nuclear Weapons,” Times (London), October 7, 1998.

[31] Parliamentary Hearings on The Security and Safety of Nuclear Facilities, in Yadernyi Kontrol, No. 34-35 (October-November 1997), p. 10.


No responses yet

Leave a Reply