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U.S. Publishes Guide To Building Atom Bombs To Web 310

Posted by Zonk
from the mixed-messages dept.
Jeff writes "The New York Times is reporting that the feds have shut down the 'Operation Iraqi Freedom Document Portal' due to concerns from weapons experts that the 'papers give detailed information on how to build nuclear firing circuits and triggering explosives, as well as the radioactive cores of atom bombs.' One diplomat is quoted as saying, 'If you had this, it would short-circuit a lot of things.' Indexes to older (less sensitive) documents (and some html from pdfs) are still cached at Google today. Rep. Pete Hoekstra pushed for the public release of the archive to help determine 'whether Saddam Hussein destroyed Iraq's weapons of mass destruction or hid or transferred them'. Critics have said the archive was created to perpetuate misinformation about WMDs."
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U.S. Publishes Guide To Building Atom Bombs To Web

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  • by krell (896769) on Friday November 03, 2006 @02:29PM (#16707237) Journal
    If you set it off, does it result in 404 errors everywhere? Or is it a more powerful version of a Googlebomb?
    • by TubeSteak (669689)
      The way Saddam designed it, the "atom bomb to web" clogs up the tubes of Democracy.

      Using the American translation, "atom bomb to web" acts something like a neutron bomb, in that it vaporizes all the Bush Administration claims that Saddam had WMDs, without damaging any infrastructure.
    • duh, it's something someone set us up
      then all your bombs are belong to Atom.
  • Woke up this morning with the brilliant idea of building home made nuclear to protect my home from those pesky neighbors. What does the Feds do? Re-classify the documents. What's an evil genius supposed to do now?!
    • by krell (896769) on Friday November 03, 2006 @02:35PM (#16707339) Journal
      "Woke up this morning with the brilliant idea of building home made nuclear to protect my home from those pesky neighbors."

      1) Build nuclear reactor in home
      2) Melt down reactor
      3) Turn into giant radiactive monster
      4) Take next door neighbor's lawnmower and plasma TV while you are hulked out. Not a damn thing he can do about it.
      5) Profit!
      • by Rei (128717)
        From the "nuclear boyscout" to Farnsworth Fusor enthusiasts, a surprising number of people do build (very weak and of questionable usefulness) nuclear reactors in their homes.

        I wish I had mirrored the site, because I'm curious just how explicit these documents are. I wonder if they're more explicit than what I was able to find on google [slashdot.org] for a previous Slashdot post.
    • What's an evil genius supposed to do now?!


      If you're a genius, you wouldn't need instructions on how to build a nuclear bomb, now would you?

    • by cp.tar (871488)

      Well, when I was in highschool, about sophomore or junior year, my physics teacher gave us detailed instructions on how to make a home-made atomic bomb.

      That's right, the whole bloody class.

      But since security measures involved required quite a lot of heavy concrete blocks or about as much soft tissue damage from the radioactivity, we gave it a pass.

      After a careful consideration, of course. The opportunity to bomb your school is not lightly missed.
      Then again, when you have an atomic bomb, you don't exactl

      • by creimer (824291)
        A chemistry instructor told us the story for why the ceiling tiles above the lecture table were missing. She filled up a balloon with hydrogen, let it go up about 20 feet on a string and set it on fire with a candle on a pole. Needless to say, the resulting "ka-boom" was a tad bit more stronger than she expected and five ceiling tiles came tumbling down. Of course, no one builds hydrogen bombs anymore.
  • .torrent? (Score:3, Informative)

    by CaptainPinko (753849) on Friday November 03, 2006 @02:31PM (#16707273)
    These would be fascinating to look it and I'm sure anyone who could get the raw materials already has this knowledge.
    • by El Torico (732160)
      ...I'm sure anyone who could get the raw materials already has this knowledge.

      Exactly; obtaining weapons grade uranium or plutonium is the hard part. Building a crude atomic bomb isn't as difficult. I'm not saying that it is easy, but some of the designs (gun type) are not that sophisticated.

      • This is about more sophisticated designs. The weapons experts the Times talked to said that this kind of information is for people working with a government budget and would help them avoid trial and error.

        A sophisticated design means higher yield or more bombs for a given inventory of fissionables, and maybe lighter bombs more suitable for use on a missile.
        • by El Torico (732160)
          That could be very, very bad. Has anyone found any specifics? It would very interesting to see what, exactly, the fuss is about. I didn't RTA because I don't want to register and I forgot how to bypass the NY Times registration page (yes, sometimes I am that absent-minded).
          • by noewun (591275)
            The article is (obviously) light on specifics. If I had to guess from what it said, the removed info was probably specifics on 1) constructing a fissionable core 2) constructing the implosive lens system used to achieve supercriticality and 3) problems the Iraqis had doing this. Info such as this might have saved the North Koreans from having their bomb fizzle recently. There could have also been stuff in there about boosting the cores.
          • by Ana10g (966013)
            try http://www.bugmenot.com/ [bugmenot.com], and enter www.nytimes.com into the list. The first one I tried worked.
    • by BWJones (18351) *
      When I was an undergraduate, I ran into entire schematics and documents from the 1950s through the 1980s on how to build atomic bombs and devices in our University Library in the engineering section. The documents were most extensive and had everything you needed to know including materials and engineering specifications. The only thing that would have been difficult to obtain was the plutonium or enriched uranium. I checked the documents out and spent a couple of weeks reading through them in a cursory
    • These would be fascinating to look it and I'm sure anyone who could get the raw materials already has this knowledge.

      Remember North Korea's nuclear fizzle just a couple of weeks ago? Do you think they intended to build a bomb with about 1/40th the power of the first US nuclear test?

      Why do you think the People's Republic of China worked so hard to steal the plans for the W88 thermonuclear warhead from the United States?

      Nuclear weapons engineering is just like any other branch of engineering. There are theor
    • Well, if by raw materials you mean the U235 or Pxx (I forget which plutonium isotope is used), then absolutely. Frankly, developing the bomb seems like something that any good team of engineers could do -- and if there's one type of professional that every nation seems able to muster, it's engineers. Even terrorist groups seem able to get their hands on competent engineers. After all, they're keeping all that Soviet weaponry in good repair, manufacturing rockets and IEDs that are, in some cases, quite so
  • Great! (Score:5, Funny)

    by Wilson_6500 (896824) on Friday November 03, 2006 @02:31PM (#16707277)
    Does this mean we can send the current government to jail on terrorism charges and get a new one?
  • Now that they have provided potential terrorists with information they might require, the U.S. has added themselves to the "Axis of Evil". George Bush wasted no time in acting and immediately attacked himself by knawing at his right hand :P
  • Um, "Short circuit"? (Score:2, Informative)

    by ScentCone (795499)
    If you had this, it would short-circuit a lot of things

    I guess we have to assume he means "would be a short cut past a lot of things," presumably some re-inventing-the-wheel R&D that was done 50 years ago and has been repeated in Pakistan, India, and now North Korea (where you can get a free pizza with any weapon you buy, as long as you pay shipping). Worrying about it seems a little silly since the Khan network had already done a fair business in selling complete, down-to-the-schematics and Home Dep
    • by b0s0z0ku (752509)
      Any country/party that wants to build nukes is going to have a much harder time getting the riht fissile material pulled together than they're going to have setting the thing off.

      Who knows: the plans could be for working and economical uranium enrichment technologies, not the nukes themselves. As has been repeated ad nauseum, working nukes aren't that hard to build. More difficult problems are: (a) enriching uranium or extracting plutonium (b) making the nukes reasonably efficient. However, with a suff

    • by rjstanford (69735)
      ... and now North Korea (where you can get a free pizza with any weapon you buy, as long as you pay shipping).

      So that's how they can keep them warm and bubbly during trans-atlantic container shipment. I'd wondered about that.
  • Predictable. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by sammy baby (14909) on Friday November 03, 2006 @02:42PM (#16707473) Journal
    The truly predictable thing about this mess is that Republicans have been asserting that this is a) proof that Hussein was within a year of building a nuclear bomb (it isn't), and b) that this is the NYT's fault.

    I mean, nevermind that righty-blogs were falling all over themselves pressing for the release of these. Somehow, they were convicned that opening these documents would unleash an "Army of Davids," and the President pushed to have the documents declassified and published before anyone had the chance to read them. Now that it turns out that, oops, hey, instructions on how to build a nuclear bomb are in there, Andrew Card is blaming - who else? - the NYT [thinkprogress.org].

    And this is after they'd already found instructions on how to make sarin in there.

    Unbelievable.
    • by Banner (17158)
      So you're saying that this isn't proof that Saddam had the ability to build a bomb in less than a year.

      BUT you're saying that it is instructions for someone ELSE to build a bomb within a year.

      Ummm, I suggest you stop letting your politics interfere with your reasoning. Either one statement is true, or the other is true. Both cannot be true.

      And if the first is true, then I guess Bush was right for invading after all?
      • by drinkypoo (153816)
        So you're saying that this isn't proof that Saddam had the ability to build a bomb in less than a year. BUT you're saying that it is instructions for someone ELSE to build a bomb within a year.

        If you look carefully...

        No, wait.

        If you have a brain you can see that these are not contradictory statements.

        Saddam could easily have had the plans but not the means.

      • by sammy baby (14909)

        So you're saying that this isn't proof that Saddam had the ability to build a bomb in less than a year.

        BUT you're saying that it is instructions for someone ELSE to build a bomb within a year.

        Where you're correct: Yes, I am saying Saddam did not have the ability to build a bomb in less than a year. And I am also saying that the documents contained instructions on how to build a bomb, although I wouldn't care to speculate on a time frame.

        Here's why you're utterly mistaken: the instructions were from 1991.

        The

        • by thule (9041)
          I thought that I read that the Duelfer Report also talked about how, although the weapons programs were not up and running, Saddam was hoping to use the oil for food program to wiggle his way out of inspections and international pressure? Saddam was hoping that once that happened he could resume the research and development of WMD. We now know that the oil for food payoffs were working. Thankfully we will never know when the next step would have been.
          • I thought that I read that the Duelfer Report also talked about how, although the weapons programs were not up and running, Saddam was hoping to use the oil for food program to wiggle his way out of inspections and international pressure? Saddam was hoping that once that happened he could resume the research and development of WMD. We now know that the oil for food payoffs were working. Thankfully we will never know when the next step would have been.

            Yeah, the whole country might have ended up a disaster

    • Your NYT link did not lead to the NYT, but instead led to just another kook partisan blog.
      • by sammy baby (14909)
        Are you kidding me?

        I linked to a site which had a video of Andrew Card, on The Today Show, blaming the New York Times, with an accompanying transcript.

        I understand that all the progressive over there might scare you, but come on, it's W's former chief of staff being interviewed by Matt Lauer on that video. Surely you can brave the scary hippie vibes long enough to click play.
        • by krell (896769)
          " understand that all the progressive over there might scare you"

          There's nothing truly progressive about the partisan, reactionary left. No more and no less than the partisan, reactionary right.
  • by vertinox (846076) on Friday November 03, 2006 @02:42PM (#16707477)
    Designing an Atomic weapons isn't that hard. Just get a bullet with appropriate fission material and shoot it at a core of enriched Uranium or for you hydrogen bomb... Get some plutonium and put it in a sphere and detonate with appropriate explosives to get it to implode.

    The hard part is getting the enriched Uranium or Plutonium.

    If you are able to design systems to refine either material, then its a cakewalk making the bomb.
    • by antv (1425)
      It won't make a difference for a government - which is fine, I'm not that scared of governments having nukes (given how we survived for the last 50 years). Governments have all kind of rules for monitoring each other and generally they aren't suicidal, so MAD works fine with nation-states.

      However, it might make a difference, since now al-Quaeda has access to these docs as well. If al-Quaida manages to also steal Uranium too, we will be in trouble. It's just another example how our government jeopardizes the
      • If al Qaeda (or anyone else) is capable of stealing enough enriched Uranium or Plutonium to build a bomb, then their ability to do so ought to be basically assumed.

        The physics behind it aren't all that hard; if you can steal a nuclear weapon, I'm sure you can find some out-of-work nuclear engineer to help you draw up the plans. It's not as if the U.S. or even the West has a complete lock on that knowledge. There are probably thousands -- maybe more -- of people who would be capable of designing a nuclear we
        • On second thought, my first sentence isn't as obvious in its meaning as it should have been. Please allow me to clarify:

          If al Qaeda (or anyone else) is capable of stealing enough enriched Uranium or Plutonium to achieve theoretical supercriticality, then their ability to build a bomb out of it ought to be basically assumed.

          I.e., in designing our security precautions, we should err on the side of always assuming that the terrorists will know how to build a bomb, once they have the minimum set of physical obj
    • That's all very interesting. Please do share your thoughts with the nice men in sunglasses who should be knocking at your door in 3.. 2.. 1..
    • by pclminion (145572)

      Um.. Thermonuclear weapons are hard to make. REALLY hard. Fission-only weapons are pretty simple, but you have to avoid accidentally irradiating and killing yourself while building them. But a hydrogen bomb is not something that could be thrown together by anybody without very specific, deep knowledge of certain parts of physics, and a LOT of money and equipment. And the necessary knowledge is voluntarily kept secret by the few humans on the planet who actually know enough to build a working thermonuclear d

    • by noewun (591275)

      Designing an Atomic weapons isn't that hard. Just get a bullet with appropriate fission material and shoot it at a core of enriched Uranium or for you hydrogen bomb... Get some plutonium and put it in a sphere and detonate with appropriate explosives to get it to implode.

      Wrong. Designing a nuclear weapon is enormously difficult. The problem isn't the physics. The problem is the engineering. Most of the effort of the Manhattan Project was spent on engineering problems. They physics was solved by 1942, but

  • "U.S. Publishes Saddam's Guide to Building Atom Bombs to Web"?

  • by Knara (9377)
    Big deal. My 16 year old neighbor with Freenet can find out how to make a nuke. Finding out _how_ to is easy. It's actually doing that which requires a lot of resources, connections, etc. Iraq had none of these (as evidenced by the fact that none of it was found after years and years of searching). Just the GOP trying to piss into the tidalwave of DNC talking points about the cockup that is Iraq.
  • Really, you should be asking what Saddam was doing with this document in the firstplace, and how close was he to getting the bomb.

    U.S. Rep. Pete Hoekstra's reply:

    "Yesterday's article by the New York Times highlights a number of important issues with respect to Iraq's WMD programs, as well as the importance of the documents that have been recovered in Iraq," said U.S. Rep. Pete Hoekstra (R-MI), Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee. "I am pleased that the document release program continues to

  • Can we actually still say that anyone can "give" the ability to build a nuke to anyone else in the modern so-called civilized world? The first A-bombs are over 60 years old. Whether you want to build a new Fat Man or Little Boy out of 1940s parts or a slick warp-capable photon torpedo with integrated AI sophisticated enough for it to have a favorite Thelonius Monk album is all pretty much up to the builders, but either one uses an idea that anyone who wants nowadays, has. Suppresing it is like trying to
  • Another poster said that cryptome would probably have this at some point in the future, and it's a safe bet that they will.

    Personally, I'm wondering if there's a google cache or wayback machine archive of the site. I need to go dig around because this is exactly the sort of information I need to have my laptop next time i take an international flight ;)

  • The information on how to build an atomic bomb is already on the web. The issue isn't the directions. It's actually executing the directions. It's not an easy thing to do correctly. Plus, actually obtaining the materials to do so isn't easy either. A few years ago there was a mass panic in some state because a kid did his science project on how to build an atomic bomb. How many high school kids actually built one after that?

    Basically, if you have enough resources to obtain the correct materials and the s
    • by b0s0z0ku (752509)
      Plus, actually obtaining the materials to do so isn't easy either.

      Right - maybe the plans weren't for a bomb itself - it's easy enough to build a gun-type bomb with sizable yield. Maybe they were for working calutrons or other uranium enrichment technology that allows a nation to gain access to pure fissile material in sufficient quantities to build a nuke.

      A few years ago there was a mass panic in some state because a kid did his science project on how to build an atomic bomb.

      I think that there was

    • by Vellmont (569020)

      The information on how to build an atomic bomb is already on the web.

      Well, the very basic knowledge, gun method, explosive lensing, etc is well known to anyone that's read the Wikipedia entry. Detailed instructions on how to construct a nuclear trigger and fire all the charges at exactly the right time aren't. It's not a big deal in the sense that the knowledge isn't particularly hard to get. It's just kind of embarrassing for the Bush administration to have published this information themselves. Basica
  • I wouldn't think that they're too reliable, since Iraq isn't known to have tested a nuclear bomb.

    -b.

  • .... When the North Koreans Slashdotted it. I guess they need the help.
  • by zecg (521666)
    I've already seen it in the Japanese "The man who stole the sun" (1979) [imdb.com].
  • I am sitting here reading the Slashdot comments and noting that not one person is noting that these nuclear documents are from 1991 [reason.com]. No one has ever denied that Saddam had a nuclear program before the first Gulf War. The actions of Bush I shut that down.

    This has nothing to with whether Saddam had WMDs when we went to war in this decade. All the intelligence that we have suggests that he was as close to nuclear weapons as a good university (i.e. the know-how but not the infrastructure).
  • Seems to me like the hard part about engineering an implosion bomb is, well, getting the implosion right. Couldn't you just trial-and-error that with lead stand-ins for the Plutonium for a while until you got it right? I mean, isn't that at least partly what the Manhattan Project did? Is the physics of the "atomic" part of an atomic bomb really that unknown anymore? What am I missing?
  • From September 30, 2004: Bush vs Kerry Presidential Debate 1 [debates.org]:

    BUSH: [...]We'll be implementing a missile-defense system relatively quickly.
    And that is another way to help deal with the threats that we face in the 21st century.
    [...]
    LEHRER: [...] if you're reelected, Mr. President, and if you are elected, the single most serious threat you believe, both of you believe, is nuclear proliferation?
    BUSH: In the hands of a terrorist enemy.

    We are doing everything we can to deploy that Star Wars missile-defense system

  • In reference to

      'whether Saddam Hussein destroyed Iraq's weapons of mass destruction or hid or transferred them'

    were there not a couple of mystery cargo ships that departed shortly before the war started and vanished? There was something on the news at the time about them, but they dissapeared ina region where there was nil chance of finding them if they'd been skuttled.

    After that, no more mention, but if wmd existed, my money would go on them being on those ships.

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