Här är något för Ernst Kirchsteiger och Martin Timell att fundera över. Hur bygger man en kärnreaktor vid Eufrats strand utan att den syns vare sig från marken eller från satelliterna? Syrien hade god hjälp från Nordkorea, och lyckades hålla projektet hemligt ganska länge. I höstas bombade israeliskt flyg bygget, lyckligtvis. ISIS har just släppt en omskriven 30-sidig rapport (pdf), med massor med satellit- och andra bilder, för den nyfikne.
The Syrian strategy worked for years. According to U.S. government experts, U.S. intelligence had determined in 2005 that Syria and North Korea were involved in a project in the province Dayr az Zawr. However, the nature of the cooperation and the location of the site remained unknown. However, suspicions based on earlier obtained information, pointed to some type of nuclear activity taking place in this province.
The 2005 assessment led to an intensified imagery search, which resulted in the discovery of a large unidentified building near the town of Al Kibar. According to a U.S. government expert, it was “odd and in the middle of nowhere,” but analysts could not ascribe the building with a nuclear character, and U.S. intelligence labeled it an “enigma facility.” In the spring of 2007, the building was determined to be the covert nuclear reactor based on photos acquired by U.S. intelligence, reportedly from Israel, that showed the inside and outside of the building.
The detection of the reactor in 2007 and the initial identification of the suspect building in 2005 should be viewed as intelligence successes. The IC’s unequivocal identification of the Al Kibar reactor depended on human intelligence from a friendly intelligence service. Even if the information was not U.S. human intelligence, this cooperative effort should also be viewed as a success.
Because of its late detection of the Al Kibar reactor, Israel felt compelled to strike the site militarily.