In 1974 CIA Claimed Israeli Nuclear Missiles Could Hit Neighbors, by Grant Smith

This is an interesting article about a subject you don’t hear much about: Israel’s nuclear program. From Grant Smith at

The Central Intelligence Agency believed that by 1974 Israel could strike all of its bordering countries with nuclear-tipped two-stage Jericho missiles. Israel was viewed by CIA as a proliferation threat via sales of turn-key nuclear weapons systems to its close allies such as apartheid South Africa. This was corroborated in year 2012 news reports revealing Israeli sales contracts. Although the now-defunct Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) demurred, the CIA also believed that a substantial quantity of weapons-grade highly-enriched uranium (HEU) was diverted from the Nuclear Materials and Equipment Corporation (NUMEC) in Apollo, Pennsylvania to Dimona for weapons production. These stunning new revelations are contained in the top-secret report Special National Intelligence Estimate, “Prospects for Further Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons” otherwise known as the 1974 SNIE.

The National Security Archive at George Washington University obtained a heavily redacted version of the SNIE in 2008. Earlier the CIA accidentally released an excised version of the 1974 SNIE conclusions, which became the basis for the New York Times front page story, “C.I.A. said in 1974 Israel had A-Bombs.” Late in 2017, responding to a broad year 2009 IRmep FOIA request for a variety of Israeli nuclear weapons program related files, the CIA released the least-redacted SNIE version yet (PDF) which included additional details on the Israeli and Indian nuclear weapons programs, including a map of the estimated range of Israel’s Jericho nuclear missile. Also review side-by-side comparisons of the 2008 and 2017 releases of the 1974 SNIE. (PDF)

1 Israeli Jericho Missile, 1974 SNIE released 12/07/2017, page 24

The CIA believed both India and Israel were “potential sources of assistance relevant to nuclear weapons proliferation.” The CIA did not believe that Israel would openly help foreign countries with nuclear weapons development because they were “highly dependent on the U.S. for critical military items.” But exports of complete “turnkey” delivery systems including nuclear warheads could help the Israelis keep the Jericho missile production line from shutting down. The CIA stated in a previously redacted paragraph that, “The Israelis have close ties both to Taipei and to South Africa and we cannot rule out bilateral or trilateral cooperation in the nuclear weapons field.”

To continue reading: In 1974 CIA Claimed Israeli Nuclear Missiles Could Hit Neighbors


One response to “In 1974 CIA Claimed Israeli Nuclear Missiles Could Hit Neighbors, by Grant Smith

  1. Gee wouldn’t it be helpful to indicate the ranges shown. This is the equivalent range of a V-2, a weapon developed by the Germans in WW2. By 1974 such technology wasn’t very impressive or unusual. Add to this that the Israelis had Mirage III aircraft that could have delivered small tactical warheads throughout the region.

    What a shocker.


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