AP Documents Four Attempts to Sell Nuclear Material to ISIS

An Associated Press investigation has documented at least four attempts by criminal gangs to sell nuclear materials to ISIS. All of these attempts occurred in Moldava, and likely are not the only ones to have taken place in recent years.

The AP article is long and worth reading in its entirety. An excerpt:

The previously unpublicized case is one of at least four attempts in five years in which criminal networks with suspected Russian ties sought to sell radioactive material to extremists through Moldova, an investigation by The Associated Press has found. One investigation uncovered an attempt to sell bomb-grade uranium to a real buyer from the Middle East, the first known case of its kind.

In that operation, wiretaps and interviews with investigators show, a middleman for the gang repeatedly ranted with hatred for America as he focused on smuggling the essential material for an atomic bomb and blueprints for a dirty bomb to a Middle Eastern buyer.

In wiretaps, videotaped arrests, photographs of bomb-grade material, documents and interviews, AP found that smugglers are explicitly targeting buyers who are enemies of the West. The developments represent the fulfillment of a long-feared scenario in which organized crime gangs are trying to link up with groups such as the Islamic State and al-Qaida — both of which have made clear their ambition to use weapons of mass destruction.

The sting operations involved a partnership between the FBI and a small group of Moldovan investigators, who over five years went from near total ignorance of the black market to wrapping up four sting operations.

That’s the good news. The bad news is that the nuclear material is still out there, as are nearly all of the would-be smugglers. It’s a good thing that ISIS is only the junior varsity.