L Weiss on Vela Event

This past November, Leonard Weiss gave a short speech titled “My Involvement with the 1979 Vela Satellite (6911) Event.” He recounted this episode about a 1980 holiday party:

During the celebration, while [Senator John] Glenn and I were chatting, Gerard Smith, U.S. Representative for Nonproliferation Matters walked over to us with drink in hand to join our chat. Smith had met with both Glenn and me on prior occasions to talk about nuclear agreements with other countries, particularly Euratom, that were required by the Nuclear Nonproliferation Act of 1978…But now, at the party, Smith was more concerned with Glenn’s intent to introduce legislation to block an NRC decision to allow a shipment of uranium fuel for India’s Tarapur reactors under an old contract to proceed….When Smith told Glenn he thought letting the shipment go would be a good nonproliferation move, Glenn disagreed, saying that the Indians had been “bad guys” on nonproliferation issues. At this, Smith bristled and said “You think the Indians are bad gguys? If you want to talk about bad guys, talk about the Israelis!” And with that both men backed off and Smith took his leave. I was stunned by Smith’s comment and committed it to memory. I wasn’t sure exactly what Smith had in mind; the Israelis had vexed many State Department officials over the years with their deception on Dimona and their ostensible theft of HEU from the NUMEC corporation in Apollo Pennsylvania. But those events happened years before. There was now a new issue with the mysterious flash, and in retrospect I think Smith may have been telling Glenn that he believed those analysts in the intelligence community who thought Israel was the most likely perpetrator of a nuclear test detected by Vela 6911.

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