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Periscope MIDDLE EAST already warned, back in 2001, of the possibility that mrogue states would reproduce and sell nuclear technology on the black mar-ilitant groups or


tor, Chon was on the U.S. intelligence ligence agencies had detected that quent number of visits to Damascus, Chon was making an unusually frethe top of the list of countries selling.House meeting with Dagan, U.S. intel-ket and that North Korea would be at Syria. As head of the Yongbyon reacA few months before the White --
community’s watch list. In his regular intelligence briefings, Cheney period-ically asked the intelligence commu-nity what Chon was doing there and if it meant that Syria and North Korea were cooperating on nuclear activity.The U.S. intelligence services said that while the countries were known to The answer he kept getting was no.
cooperate on missile technology, there was simpossibility of nuclear collaboration. proved Cheney’s intuition to have been right. North Korea wasn’t just sharing nuclear know-how with Syria. It was building a nuclear reactor there.But then Dagan showed up and ply nothing to back up the
GATHERING Under the cover of darkness, a pair of doing one last review of their equipters flew low to evade radar detection. Inside, the commandos—instead of their usual Mment. The Sikorsky choppers carried Sikorsky CH-53 Sea Stallion helicop-Syrian soldiers and armed with AK-47s MORE EVIDENCEdisguised as 16s—were -
military jeeps for the troops to use intelligence (known as Amonce they were on the ground.dos fromcrafted a plan to send elite commanYadlin, Israel’s commander of military old and camouflaged Syrian-model (IDF) General Staff Reconnaissance It was August 2007, and Am the Israel Defense Forces’ an), had os -

the MIsraeli accent. “For Syria to have a nuclear weapons program, to have a nuclear weapon, is unacceptable.”out of his bag and spread dozens of color photos on the coffee table. Cheney lifted one. Hadley and Abrams “Syria is building a nuclear reactor,” Dagan then pulled the first folder ossad chief said in his thick
took another. They could clearly make out a concrete building under construction, with some large pipes being installed inside. There was nothing yet that showed the building to be a nuclear reactor. It didn’t have the typical dome or smokestacks, the trademarks of nuclear facilities.“That is the nuclear reactor,” Dagan
graphite-mtor in North Korea. The concrete to hide what was really inside.explained, used to produce plutonium, and was being built as an almost exact replica of the Yongbyon nuclear reac-told the group. It was a gas-cooled, building on the exterior was a façade The Americans were soderated reactor, he peech-
wearing a blue tracksuit. The mfront of the concrete structure. One just watched and listened as Dagan explained in detail what the pictures showed. In one, two mhe was standing next to, Dagan said, less. Cheney, Hadley and Abramof the mwas Ibrahim Othman, head of Syria’s en, of Asian ethnicity, was en posed in an s
Atomic Energy Commission. another photo. It was the same Asian man, although this time he was wear-ing a tailored suit and tie. From their intelligence experience, the Amcans knew what they were seeing. It was a photo taken at a recent meeting of the Six-Party Talks, the negotiations Dagan then showed his hosts eri-
Ampowers were conducting with North Korea in an effort to stop its rogue nuclear programerica and other W. The mestern super-an in the


Yongbyon nuclear reactor.Korea’s nuclear ambitions—photo, Dagan said, was Chon Chibu, Until then, there was no evidence in the U.S. intelligence comone of the scientists in charge of the support what Dagan was claiming. Not a clue. Everyone knew about North The news was earth-shattering. munity to the her-
mit country had tested its first nuclear nightmare of worldwide proportions.October 2006—ing to even hint that Pyongyang was wasn’t just shocking. It was a strategic weapon just a few months earlier, in proliferating its technology and help-ing Syria build a nuclear weapon. It Israel, Dagan said, had already but there was noth-
found the facility. It was buried deep in the desert in northeastern Syria, in a region known as Deir Ezzor, along the Euphrates River. The Syrians, he explained, had used the river to help conceal their rogue nuclear activity. They had built the reactor in a wadi, a valley, so it couldn’t be seen by pass-ing cars or hikers. The outer square
Korea and Syria, sat quietly. He had structure that surrounded the reactor was built to look like an Ottoman-era fort, no different fromless other old guard posts scattered throughout the desert.to get U.S. intelligence agencies to probe a possible link between North Cheney, who for years had tried the count-
building a nuclear know-how with sharing nuclear reactor there.North Korea Syria.wasn’t just It was
12 NEWSWEEK.COM JUNE 07, 2019 &/^2 &.:,^6 ()^520 ^723 


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