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Reuters AlertNet 8/17/07

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At the UN, Warhead Reduction Pitched by U.S. While Replacement Warhead "Sketchy"

Byline: Matthew Russell Lee of Inner City Press at the UN: News Analysis

UNITED NATIONS, October 15 -- U.S. representatives came to the UN on Monday to brag about their reduction in nuclear warheads. At a stakeout interview afterwards, Inner City Press asked about the U.S.'s plan to build a new type of warhead. Tom D'Agostino, the administrator of the National Nuclear Security Administration, answered that steps are being taken toward a new warhead with "no increased yield" and "no new features." Video here, from Minute 13:25.

   When Inner City Press asked if it is a hydrogen bomb -- as reported in a Los Angeles Times story to which no correction has been appended -- Mr. D'Agostino said, "I'm not familiar with that article," and emphasized again that the "Reliable Replacement Warhead" is simply an attempt to "do things better." But do what better? Not once in the 18-minute stakeout interview was the destruction of cities mentioned. Repeatedly, Mr. D'Agostino and his two colleagues were asked if the U.S. had evidence of North Korea nuclear assistance to Syria. Responses ranged from, that is not the purpose of this briefing, to a characterization of available evidence as "sketchy."

Warheads per U.S. NNSA

Meanwhile, sources tell Inner City Press that footage Syria submitted to the UN, with the intention of reaching the Security Council, has yet to reach Council members. There may be some data-stamp problems with the footage, not dissimilar to the disputes about the age of the missile that fell in Georgia near the breakaway republic of South Ossetia. Click here for more on that.

            A press release distributed at the stakeout, entitled "Design Selected for Reliable Replacement Warhead," listed that the "RRW will... decrease the likelihood that a nuclear test will be needed." Decrease?

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Click here for a Reuters AlertNet piece by this correspondent about Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army. Click here for an earlier Reuters AlertNet piece about the Somali National Reconciliation Congress, and the UN's $200,000 contribution from an undefined trust fund.  Video Analysis here

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UN Office: S-453A, UN, NY 10017 USA Tel: 212-963-1439

Reporter's mobile (and weekends): 718-716-3540