- In case you missed the appearance of NewsMax's Col. Stanislav
Lunev on the "CBS Evening News" last night, here's a transcript.
- Note that although CBS poured cold water on Lunev's statements,
they are more worthy of scrutiny than ever after Sept. 11. ___
- DAN RATHER: Tonight's Eye on America is the first in
a series of hard news reports this week assessing possible terror threats
facing the U.S. There are many fears and many scenarios, but what are the
real risks? Tonight's focus: the threat of nuclear terror. CBS's Jerry
Bowen brings you the facts.
- JERRY BOWEN: The country's Customs agents have something
fairly new in the fight against nuclear terrorism: hidden radiation detectors
that go off if anyone tries to smuggle in any radioactive material. But
if some of America's one-time enemies are correct, the threat may already
- COL. LUNEV (former Soviet military intelligence officer):
So unfortunately, some of these devices are still located on American soil.
- BOWEN: Stanislav Lunev is a former Soviet military intelligence
officer, a defector who's now in the federal Witness Protection Program.
He claims that before the Cold War ended a decade ago, Soviet agents planted
so-called 'suitcase nuclear bombs' similar to this mock-up in the United
States and other Western countries; nuclear bombs that could be triggered
if war broke out.
- LUNEV: They were designed to destroy extremely highly
protected American targets.
- BOWEN: Lunev, his identity protected, told the same story
to Congress, and a former Soviet general told CBS's "60 Minutes"
that the suitcase bombs existed. But many U.S. defense analysts are convinced
Russia actually retrieved and dismantled all the small nuclear devices.
- MICHAEL O'HANLON (Brookings Institution): My own view
is that's not a major worry. Those kinds of weapons, if they ever existed,
were under the clear control of the Russian or Soviet state, and I don't
think they would have been available to terrorists.
- BOWEN: But the Soviets weren't the only ones to create
a so-called suitcase nuke. This recently declassified film shows how the
United States had them in its arsenal in the early '60s. Defense experts
dismiss the possibility that terrorists can build one themselves.
- JOHN LEPINGWELL (Center for Nonproliferation Studies):
And certainly, to do something like that in the mountains of Afghanistan
would be extraordinarily difficult.
- BOWEN: But four years ago, Osama bin Laden was named
in a federal indictment for attempting to buy enriched uranium, nuclear
material which experts say can be used in a conventional explosive; the
poor man's way to spread radioactive fallout.
- (Excerpt from terrorist training video)
- LEPINGWELL: But it's difficult to get that much radioactive
material into the bomb and then disperse it around an area in such a way
as to cause major casualties.
- BOWEN: But might bin Laden have obtained some larger
nuclear warheads with outside help?
- LUNEV: I know from intelligence estimations that he obtained
several devices from former Soviet Union, tactical nuclear devices.
- BOWEN: Reports like this are unsubstantiated. And whether
al-Qaeda could handle and smuggle such things is thought to be highly improbable.
- Still, U.S. Customs agents are training border guards
from countries surrounding Afghanistan to detect nuclear material, one
more small front in a very different kind of war where nothing is being
taken for granted. In Los Angeles, this is Jerry Bowen for Eye on America.
- Get Col. Lunev's new tape, "CIA Files: Defector
Reveals Russia's Secret Plans," exclusively through NewsMax.