RINF, Saturday, April 26th, 2008
Reuters | Syria’s ambassador to the United States said Friday that the CIA fabricated pictures allegedly taken inside a secret Syrian nuclear reactor and predicted that in coming weeks the U.S. story about the site would implode from within.
“The photos presented to me yesterday were ludicrous, laughable,” Ambassador Imad Moustapha told reporters at his Washington residence.
He refused to say what the building in the remote eastern desert of Syria was used for before Israeli jets bombed it in September 2007.
Senior U.S. intelligence officials said Thursday they believe it was a secret nuclear reactor meant to produce plutonium, which can be used to make high-yield nuclear weapons. They alleged that North Korea aided in the design, construction and outfitting of the building.
Syria bulldozed the building’s ruins a month after it was bombed and
constructed a new, larger building in its place, leaving little or no evidence of what had been on the site.
Moustapha would not explain the purpose of the new building. But he said the lack of military checkpoints, air defenses or barbed wire fences around either building should show that it was not a sensitive facility.
So far, Syria has not allowed the International Atomic Energy Agency to
inspect the area.
Syria’s ambassador to the United Nations, Bashar Ja’afari, pledged on Friday to cooperate with the IAEA and suggested that the main target of the American CIA allegations against Syria is to justify the Israeli attack against the Syrian side.
In a message to employees, CIA Director Michael Hayden praised the agency’s outstanding work, calling it a case study in rigorous analytic tradecraft, skillful human and technical collection.