The Security Chief At Dimona Suspected

Yediot Ahronot
November 24, 1999
By Michal Goldberg

· The security officers at the NRC held three meetings with Mordechai Vanunu when he was working at the reactor, as an unnamed NRC security officer at the trial testified.

· The officer served in that post from the end of '79 to October '86, the month when Vanunu was abducted. He did not answer the question put to him by the Defence, if the end of his job had to do with the Vanunu affair. At the time of the trial, he was serving in a different capacity - 'NRC controller'.

· The former security officer testified in carefully-chosen words that Vanunu was employed at the NRC as 'a chief operator, he supervised systems and acted as he had been instructed, to respond to this or that situations in the processes that he was involved with... a series of processes that he had to supervise, to control and to sound the alarm in the event anything went wrong, etc.'

· He stated that NRC security officers summoned Vanunu three times for clarification talks, because 'there was information that he was associating with all sorts of groups, including minorities, which certainly worried us.' At the first talk Vanunu said to the officer that 'he was meeting with a group that dealt with discrimination, whether of [Jewish] communities or [national] minorities.... We talked about the need to maintain secrecy at the NRC, and we warned him,' the security officer testified.

· A second talk with Vanunu took place after the security officer obtained a copy of the Beersheba University students' newspaper, in which Vanunu was interviewed and was quoted as saying, 'Of course, the only way is to go underground.' 'Naturally, to me, as a security officer, this not only switched on a red light - it was more than that, so I read it to Mr Vanunu. He said that the passage about the need to move underground was not a quote of his words, but that the interviewer herself wrote this as an expression of her own ideas - and indeed I got the impression that this was really not what he said.'

· At the third, and most significant, meeting Vanunu refused to sign a report on all his contacts and connections, and even told the security officers, 'Don't worry, I intend to quit pretty soon and then all will be very quiet, you won't need to worry.' He told them that he was planning to study for a second university degree and maybe take up teaching.

· The security officer also testified that Vanunu quit working at the reactor 'in a general reduction of the workforce. He was offered other posts in the NRC, but refused and decided to quit.' He added that Vanunu was called in before he quit to sign a secrecy commitment, and for a briefing, which was routine for employees who were leaving.

· The security officer also testified that in casual talks with Vanunu, the latter told him he wanted to visit his brother abroad, and several times spoke of 'travelling'. But at their last meeting, before he left the NRC, Vanunu didn't say where he was heading. He only stated that 'You (i.e., the NRC) are responsible' for his leaving the place.

· Another NRC employee who testified at the trial was a chemical engineer named 'Giyora', a specialist in 'industrial control of computers', whose job at that time was described as 'installation manager' at the NRC in the department of 'nuclear chemical engineering'. 'Giyora' testified that he was asked to take part in questioning Vanunu. He took with him the story that was published in the ST, and went over the photographs with Vanunu. Vanunu told him and the interrogators what he had said to the journalists in England about each of the photographs. According to 'Giyora', the atmosphere between them 'was easy. They brought us food when we broke off, and we talked about all kinds of things even while eating.'

· In the course of the trial 'Giyora' was shown the pictures which had appeared in the English newspaper. He testified that indeed 'the objects photographed were real objects at the NRC,' and that 'a person familiar with the nuclear subject seing these pictures would be able to deduce something.'

· 'Giyora' also testified that Dr. Barnaby, the scientist who talked with Vanunu before the story was published in the newspaper, was a known expert with an international reputation.