The US Department of Justice announced Sept. 17 that a US scientist and his wife have been indicted for conspiring to sell nuclear weapons information to an individual they believed worked for the Venezuelan government. Pedro Leonardo Mascheroni and his wife, Marjorie Mascheroni, were arrested that day by the FBI and appeared before the US District Court for the District of New Mexico. The defendants used to work at the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) and possessed classified nuclear weapons knowledge. According to the indictment, between March 2008 and August 2009, Pedro Mascheroni, who is a naturalized US citizen, negotiated a deal with an undercover FBI agent he believed to be a Venezuelan official in which he would help the country develop a nuclear weapon in exchange for over $700,000. No actual members of the Venezuelan government have been charged in the case. If convicted, the couple faces a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.
From Jurist, Sept. 18. Used with permission.
NOTE: Emphasis added to demonstrate that, in a trick often used by the feds with the complicity of the media, undercover agents were employed to create the illusion of a conspiracy. A careful reading indicates that, contrary to the implication of the headlines, there was no Venezuelan involvement in this case whatsoever.
See our last posts on Venezuela and nuclear fear.