RUSSIA MAY HAVE POSITIONED NUCLEAR BOMBS IN US
Stanislav Lunev, a former colonel who defected from an elite military
intelligence unit of the former Soviet Union in early 1992 from the
Russian Intelligence Agency (GRU), testified before the House National
Security Committee (HNSC) that it is possible that Russia has smuggled
nuclear suitcase bombs into the US to use in the event of war.
Lunev is the author of a new book, Through the Eyes of the Enemy, that
states that the Russian military and intelligence organizations still
regard the US as a threat and continue to plan for World War III
in which Russia and the US oppose each other.
Rep. Curt Weldon (R-Pa.), who presided over the hearing, called for the
administration to do more to ensure the US is prepared for this threat
from Russia. Specifically, Weldon, who is the chairman of the HNSC
research and development panel, promoted the idea of spending more money
on a Wide Area Tracking System (WATS) intended to detect smuggled
The technology is under development at Lawrence
"Given the shocking possibility that Russian nuclear suitcase bombs may
even now be smuggled into the United States, I hope the Clinton
reverses its neglect of the experimental WATS" system,
Because Lunev has had his identity altered under the federal witness
protection program, he testified yesterday behind a screen that blocked
observers from viewing his face.
Lunev said he worked as a spy inside the United States from 1988 until
early 1992, under cover of a Tass newspaper correspondent. During that
time, he said, one of his responsibilities was to identify possible
places in the Washington area for placement of tactical nuclear bombs.
Lunev said he decided to write the book revealing Russian secrets after
he was diagnosed with cancer.
He indicated that he now has less reason to fear retribution from his
former colleagues. "If I am to be killed, it will only be in advance of
the cancer," he said. "I have nothing to lose right now."
The Soviet Union developed portable nuclear tactical devices for its
special operations forces, Lunev said. The devices are small enough to
fit in a suitcase, though Lunev said it would be a "very heavy" case.
Most likely, Lunev said, Russian agents would seek to transport the
devices in a way that would not attract attention-using, for example, a
carrier that looked like a picnic basket or golf bag.
Russia most likely would smuggle the devices into the United States
using the same type of methods that drug runners use, Lunev said. If
these simpler methods failed, Russia could deliver the technology by
air, propelling a package from a reconnaissance plane to a remote
for later retrieval by Russian agents, or by sea, using an
oceanographic research ship to deliver the equipment to a sparsely
Under questioning, Lunev said he does not know if Russia has positioned
portable nuclear weapons are in the United States. "It is possible that
they are here because they are not inside Russia," he said.
A congressional delegation that Weldon led to Russia first learned in
May 1997 that Russia had developed nuclear suitcase weapons and that
dozens of them are missing.
Lunev said the US is underestimating the threat that Russia poses today.
Not only does Russia still seek to learn US military secrets, but it is
actively engaged in industrial espionage, he said.
"Russian intelligence activity against this country is much more active
than it was in the time of the former Soviet Union's existence," Lunev
said. He suggested that Russia still has plans to eliminate US civilian
leaders and the military chain of command in event of war.
Lunev also stated that the Russian government is heavily infiltrated by
the Russian mafia. "The government is penetrated by Russian mafia so
deeply it was possible a few years ago to say the Russian government is
simply a criminal state," he said.
Rep. Owen Pickett (D-Va.) asked how Lunev could have reliable
information about the plans of the Russian military and intelligence
organizations, given that he defected six years ago. Lunev replied that
he maintains "my own contacts with some people."
Pickett also suggested that maintaining portable nuclear devices in the
US would be difficult because the devices would require regular
maintenance and possible replacement every few months. This activity
could compromise their location, Pickett said.
Defense Daily News
5 August 1998
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