The Syria Nukes Background Briefing
- Saturday, Apr 26 2008, 9:47AM
What follows is the transcript of the "background briefing" with Senior US officials on Syria's alleged nuclear program. (pdf here)
Office of the Director of National Intelligence
Background Briefing with Senior U.S. Officials on Syria's Covert Nuclear Reactor and North Korea's Involvement April 24, 2008
SENIOR INTELLIGENCE OFFICIAL 1: Hello. My name is [Senior Intelligence Official 1]. And I have the start-off role. It's been a pretty busy morning and afternoon, as you might imagine. We've been on the Hill having dialogue with our committees.
What I want to do is just frame the issue. I read the press reporting coming out here. So I'm almost at the point of saying are there any questions. But just let me say that what we're going to discuss is a nuclear reactor. It was constructed by the Syrians in the eastern desert of Syria along the Euphrates River on the east side. The Syrians constructed this reactor for the production of plutonium with the assistance of the North Koreans.
Our evidence goes back an extended period of time. We have had insights to what was going on since very late '90s, early 2000, 2001 that something was happening. Our issue was pinning it down and being more precise. We had increasing appreciation for what was happening in the 2003, 2006 timeframe. But we still couldn't quite pin it down, as will become apparent to you when we show you more of the physical evidence that you'll see in just a moment.
In the spring of last year, we were able to obtain some additional information that made it conclusive. And so, we engaged in this policy process of now that we have the evidence, what do we do about it? The evidence concluded a nuclear reactor, as I mentioned, constructed by the Syrians, started probably in 2001, completed in the summer of 2007. And it was nearing operational capability.
So from that point of departure, I am joined by [Senior Intelligence Official 2] who will provide details on the intelligence and what we knew and so on. We will show you a video of the evidence - so give you a chance to ask questions about that. And then [a Senior Administration Official], seated to my right will be available for responding to any policy questions you might have. So with that, I'll turn it over to [Senior Intelligence Official 2].
Continue reading this article -- Steve Clemons