What Did The Moon Scientist Want To Tell The Israelis? Some Clues

What Did The Moon Scientist Want To Tell The Israelis? Some Clues
What Did The Moon Scientist Want To Tell The Israelis? Some Clues 

Edited by Marc Ambinder
The Atlantic
Oct 19 2009

There's nothing like a good, diverting spy scandal.  The FBI today 
arrested an eminent space scientist, Stewart David Nozette, and charged 
him with espionage. He allegedly agreed to sell information about 
American nuclear weapons to an operative of Israel's Mossad -- only the 
agent turned out to be an uncover FBI agent. Nozette was the principal 
investigator on the NASA team that discovered water on the moon. But he 
spent years as a top scientist at the Department of Energy, where he 
specialized in satellite technology. According to CBS News, his work for 
an Israeli defense/aerospace consulting company owned by the Israeli 
government -- work that involved providing unspecified but presumably 
sensitive technical assistance -- brought him to the attention of 
investigators. The affidavit alleges that Nozette secreted two computer 
drives out of the company and brought them to a third country.  What he 
did with them -- and what was contained on those disks the FBI isn't 
saying.  From the FBI release, it's hard to figure out what he might 
have given the Israelis when he worked for them.  Left somewhat vague is 
what he tried to sell to the undercover agent. But his resume provides a 
clue [1].

Take it as a given that Israel's nuclear weapons stockpile and its half 
dozen nuclear facilities in the country are targets for U.S. espionage 
-- be it from the the SIGINT satellites tasked by the National Security 
Agency to the imagery satelittes run by the National Reconaissance 
Office.  At the Pentagon's Ballistic Missile Defense Agency, Nozette ran 
a program that focused on dual-use nuclear compliance monitoring 
satellites. The Clementine satellite that discovered water on the moon 
was, before it was used by civilian scientists, a platform for a 
sohpisticated nuclear compliance sensor. Among the technologies that 
Clementine validated was a capacity to peer beneath the ground -- one of 
the ways that hidden water was discovered.

No doubt that Nozette would be in a good position to know how easily it 
is for U.S. technologies to pierce the veil of Israel's secret nuke 



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