On July 17 the Interagency Security Classification Appeals Panel (ISCAP) agreed to review highly classified documents from the LBJ administration for public release.
The top-secret documents purportedly deal with the CIA's initial urgent warnings to President Johnson that Israel was diverting vast quantities of weapons-grade nuclear material from NUMEC, as well as the president and NSC's strategy for dealing with the crisis. While the CIA has denied all previous Freedom of Information Act and Mandatory Declassification Review requests for NUMEC-related documents, the ISCAP has the authority to overrule, as it has done in the majority of release cases.
A successful document release could allow Parks and Apollo residents to finally seek hefty court-ordered damages from the true perpetrators (or their estates) who have long been shielded from the consequences of their lucrative crimes at NUMEC--Zalman Shapiro, NUMEC's board members and the Israeli government....
How Israel Received Weapons-Grade Nuclear Material From a US Company
Michael Kelley | Aug. 7, 2012, 1:09 PM
On July 19, 1969, U.S. National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger wrote the following about Israel's nuclear weapons program:
"There is circumstantial evidence that some fissionable material available for Israel's weapons development was illegally obtained from the United States by about 1965."
In the new book, Divert!: NUMEC, Zalman Shapiro and the diversion of US weapons grade uranium into the Israeli nuclear weapons program, Grant Smith details the circumstantial evidence through hundreds of declassified documents regarding the illegal diversion of U.S. government-owned highly enriched Uranium-235 (HEU-235) – a key material used to produce nuclear weapons – from the NUMEC nuclear processing plant in Pennsylvania to Israel's secret nuclear weapons program.
The story revolves around a brilliant nuclear chemist and professed American Zionist named Zalman Mordecai Shapiro.
Shapiro received a PhD in chemistry from John Hopkins University in 1948 and began working on the USS Nautilus, which would become the world's first operational nuclear-power submarine in 1954. The project was planned and supervised by Admiral Hyman G. Rickover, who cited Shapiro as one of the four individuals most responsible for the program's success.
On December 31, 1956, Shapiro incorporated the Nuclear Materials and Equipment Corporation (NUMEC), a nuclear-materials processing facility that began receiving a steady stream of government contracts to produce fuel for the Navy's growing fleet of nuclear-powered vessels.
The company's start-up capital was organized by David Lowenthal, an American citizen who secretly fought for Israel during its 1948 war for independence alongside who would become the country's first head of intelligence (Meir Amit) and its first prime minister (David Ben-Gurion). According to FBI files, Lowenthal traveled "to Israel on the average of approximately once per month."
Many members of NUMEC's venture capital network and board of directors were dedicated Zionists who, like Shapiro, held leadership positions in the Zionist Organization of America – "an American membership organization founded in 1896 dedicated to the creation of a Jewish state in Palestine," according to Divert!.
Between 1957 and 1967, NUMEC received 22 tons (44,000 lbs) of HEU-235. A 2001 Department of Energy audit revealed that NUMEC lost at least 593 pounds of HEU – about 2.0 percent of what it received – before 1968.