69 Items

The nuclear archive warehouse outside Tehran (Satellite image via Google).

Satellite image via Google

Report - Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School

The Iran Nuclear Archive: Impressions and Implications

In mid-January, a team of scholars from the Belfer Center’s Intelligence and Managing the Atom Projects traveled to Tel Aviv, Israel to examine samples of, and receive briefings on, an archive of documents related to Iran’s nuclear weapons program. The large cache includes some 55,000 pages of documents and a further 55,000 files on CDs that included photos and videos. A clandestine Israeli intelligence operation spirited the materials out of Iran in early 2018.

The documents that the Belfer group were shown confirm that senior Iranian officials had decided in the late 1990s to actually manufacture nuclear weapons and carry out an underground nuclear test; that Iran’s program to do so made more technical progress than had previously been understood; and that Iran had help from quite a number of foreign scientists, and access to several foreign nuclear weapon designs. The archive also leaves open a wide range of questions, including what plan, if any, Iran has had with respect to nuclear weapons in the nearly 16 years since Iran’s government ordered a halt to most of the program in late 2003. 

This brief report summarizes the group’s conclusions about what the archive reveals about Iran’s program and questions that remain open.

teaser image

News

U.S.-Russia Elbe Group Issues Joint Statement

| Apr. 09, 2019

The Elbe Group – consisting of retired senior military and intelligence officials from the U.S. and Russia – met in Reykjavik, Iceland in March 2019 to discuss a range of issues including strategic stability, cyber security, counter terrorism, the Middle East, questions related to nuclear security, the status of the Iran nuclear agreement, the future of nuclear nonproliferation, and Arctic issues.

At the conclusion of the meeting, the Group agreed on a statement of common goals.

- Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School Belfer Center Newsletter

Keeping Communications Open Despite U.S.-Russia Friction

| Fall/Winter 2018-2019

For the past eight years, a group of high-level American and Russian retired military and intelligence officials has met annually to discuss sensitive issues of U.S. - Russian relations. The purpose of the Elbe Group, launched by the Belfer Center in 2008, is to keep open an important channel of communications between the two countries that have the largest arsenal of nuclear weapons. in the world. 

John Breannan gives the keynote speech at a public event at the LBJ Presidential Library on Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2015

(LBJ Library Photo/Gabriel Cristóver Pérez)

Analysis & Opinions - Just Security

Why I Signed the Former CIA Officials’ Letter on Clearances: In Defense of Rule of Law

| Aug. 20, 2018

I count myself among the skeptics concerning John Brennan’s organizational changes at the CIA, but such concerns have no bearing on the revocation of his clearances of other prominent national security officials. I signed the letter by former CIA officials repudiating the president’s actions because I am convinced that our nation is in a crisis. 

Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, left, and former CIA chief Michael Hayden at the Watergate Hotel in May

Jared Soares/TIME

Analysis & Opinions - Just Security

Security Clearance Removals and Presidential Politicization of Intelligence

| July 27, 2018

The White House’s statement that it has “begun the mechanism to remove security clearances” for former senior intelligence officers General Michael Hayden, General James Clapper, and John Brennan should be judged in the light of the President’s disturbing pattern of silencing democratic forces — individuals, groups and institutions — that possess the temerity to challenge the authority and power of Donald Trump.

Russian President Vladimir Putin

(Alexei Nikolsky/AP)

Analysis & Opinions - The Washington Post

Russia Already Gave Up on ‘Normal Relations’ with the U.S.

| July 20, 2018

When Russian President Vladimir Putin approved what U.S. authorities say was a GRU operation to meddle in the 2016 election, he undoubtedly expected it to deal a death blow to U.S.-Russian relations. U.S. intelligence would become aware of it at some point; that’s the risk of conducting an intelligence operation on this scale. The American people would surely be outraged. As in the past, both parties would unite to confront Russia. The questions that must have run through his mind: What do I have to lose? Are Russian interests fulfilled by attempting to reset this broken relationship with the Americans, or is our cause advanced by going on the offensive? For the weaker party — a country facing encroachment by NATO — isn’t offense the best defense?

U.S. President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin during their joint news conference at the Presidential Palace in Helsinki, Finland, Monday, July 16, 2018.

(AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Analysis & Opinions - Just Security

Helsinki Summit: A Time for Choosing—Three observations by former senior CIA officer

| July 16, 2018

Rolf Mowatt-Larssen: "The US intelligence community can no longer trust the President’s judgment after he clearly sided with Russia in the Mueller investigation and the underlying intelligence information that formed the basis of the indictments of twelve Russian military intelligence officers."