Sunday, October 03, 2004

Saddam's nuke chief now nano in U.S.

Iraq's `Nuclear Mastermind' Tells Tale of Ambition, Deceit (Los Angeles Times)

    On most days now, Mahdi Obeidi rides his new mountain bike, plays with his grandkids and works on getting a U.S. patent for technology he originally developed to build a nuclear bomb for Saddam Hussein.

    Obeidi, who headed Hussein's uranium enrichment program until it was shut down in 1991, is the only Iraqi weapons scientist that the CIA is known to have brought to the United States after the invasion last year. The CIA also flew eight of his family members here in August 2003 and secretly set them up in three adjoining apartments in a leafy Virginia suburb close to downtown Washington.

    Obeidi has co-written a book, "The Bomb in My Garden," about his career. He hopes to find a job to resume research on nanotechnology, the science of building materials and systems at the molecular or atomic level. He is trying to get a U.S. patent for research in nanotechnology that he conducted early in his quest to build a nuclear bomb, he said.

    And he warned that it was probably easier to build a nuclear bomb today than when he tried — and nearly succeeded.

    "The danger is really imminent," he said. "Someone today could be more clever than I was. The black market is still open. The technology is more efficient and more accessible. My work can be repeated, or accelerated. That is the horror." More here

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