Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Uranium Smuggler Caught in Georgia

CNN - Russian smuggled nuclear-bomb uranium, officials say
Now before anyone gets too worked up, I'd like to make clear that it is the Republic of Georgia (the former Soviet Republic NOT the state next to Alabama).
Republic of Georgia authorities, aided by the CIA, set up a sting operation last summer that led to the arrest of a Russian man who tried to sell a small amount of nuclear-bomb grade uranium in a plastic bag in his jacket pocket, U.S. and Georgian officials said.

The operation, which neither government has publicized, represents one of the most serious cases of smuggling of nuclear material in recent years, according to analysts and officials.

The arrest underscored concerns about the possibility of terrorists acquiring nuclear bomb-making material on the black market, although there was no suggestion that this particular case was terrorist-related.
This is obviously very serious, even if it is in Eastern Europe not the Eastern United States. The penalty for the act is what actually surprised me the most:
The man was arrested and sentenced to eight to 10 years in prison on smuggling charges. His accomplices were sentenced on lesser charges.
Although the CIA was involved, the arrest took place in the Republic of Georgia and is therefore subject to their laws, I'm sure. It just seems to me that if such a thing had happened in the US, the person would be in Guantanamo right now and treated as a terrorist. Maybe I'm wrong about that, but it seems likely to me.

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