TRIPLE CROSS: Israel, The Atomic Bomb, and the Man Who Spilled the Secrets by Louis Toscano

TRIPLE CROSS: Israel, The Atomic Bomb, and the Man Who Spilled the Secrets

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The twisted saga of an Israeli citizen who exposed his country's nuclear weapons capability to the world, briskly recounted by a veteran UPI foreign correspondent. Mordechai Vanunu was by most accounts a shy young man, tortured by a sense of his own wasted potential in the years he worked as a technician at Israel's Dimona nuclear-reactor facility. Ostensibly devoted to the peaceful exploitation of nuclear energy, the Dimona site housed a secret underground nuclear factory capable of building hydrogen and even neutron bombs. Vanunu, increasingly disillusioned with his job, his lack of direction, and with Israel itself, began joining leftist causes, endangering his security clearance by appearing at pro. Arab demonstrations, and finally resolved to photograph the weapons plant in the hopes of educating the public on what their government was up to. Vanunu and his photographs ended up at the Sunday Times of London, where amazed reporters prepared a major scoop. But just before the story broke, Vanunu was kidnapped by Israel's secret service and tossed into solitary confinement, where he faced the prospect of a secret trial. Toscano convincingly contends that Israeli leaders knew of Vanunu's actions and could have apprehended him before he delivered the photographs to reporters, but instead used the unwitting ex-technician to put Arab countries on notice regarding Israeli nuclear capability while maintaining an officially innocent facade. Once the deed was done, officials cynically turned Israel's oft-censored media against the young (perhaps misguided) idealist, encouraged the general public's view of him as a traitor, and triple-crossed the man who double-crossed his country with an 18-year prison sentence. Vanunu is presently in solitary confinement. Toscano tells this tale of grandiose visions, coldblooded manipulation; and appalling naivetÉ with a sure style and a tree insider's knowledge. A fascinating cautionary tale.

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 1990
Publisher: Birch Lane/Carol