FBI targets US nuclear scientist who contacted Venezuelan official
October 25, 2009 2 Comments
By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
A team of FBI agents has raided the house of a former Los Alamos nuclear scientist who has spent two decades criticizing Washington’s nuclear weapons and energy agenda. The agents seized several computers, cameras, cell phones and paper files from the home of Dr. P. Leonardo Mascheroni, a 74-year-old Argentinean-born nuclear scientist who became a US citizen while working at the US Department of Energy’s Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico. After leaving Los Alamos, in 1988, Dr. Mascheroni has campaigned in favor of inertial confinement fusion (commonly known as laser fusion) as a means of producing low-cost energy and of testing nuclear weapons without resorting to underground explosions. Following the FBI raid at his house, Dr. Mascheroni held a press conference where he claimed he was told by the FBI that he was suspected of possible involvement in “nuclear espionage”. The New York Times says the FBI investigation was prompted by a series of meetings in 2008 between Dr. Mascheroni and an unnamed individual claiming to be representing the government of Venezuela. The latter commissioned from Dr. Mascheroni a study on laser fusion in exchange for an $800,000 payment. But two weeks ago, the unnamed man was nabbed on suspicion of espionage activities by FBI agents, who found the laser fusion study and acquired a search warrant for Dr. Mascheroni’s house, believing the scientist may have broken federal rules by discussing his nuclear research with a foreign agent. The FBI is so far refusing to discuss the details of the investigation. But Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez said the FBI action was part of “a well conceived plan against Venezuela, [aimed at] creating a public opinion that this is a nuclear government, of atomic bombs and such”.