CIA HISTORICAL REVIEW PROGRAM RELEASE IN FULL
NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE ESTIMATE
The Clandestine Introduction of Weapons of Mass Destruction into the US
y Iht DIRECTOR OF CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE
Concurred in by lhe UNITED STATES INTELLIGENCE BOARD
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NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE ESTIMATE
Clandestine Introduction of Weapons of Mass Destruction into the US
THE CLANDESTINE INTRODUCTION OF WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION INTO THE US
To assess Soviet capabilities for the clandestine introduction and delivery of weapons of mass destruction in tho US; and to estimate the likelihood of Soviet resort to this method of attack over the next few years.1
have no evidence of Soviet plans or intentionsthe clandestine introduction of weapons of massThe Soviets are, however, capable of introducinginto the US. Because clandestine production ofand chemical agents in the US is both feasible and lesstheir clandestine introduction, we conclude that thewould consider only nuclear weapons for )
believe that the Soviets almost certainly wouldthe use of clandestinely deliveredupplement to other weapons in the context ofwar. We have estimatedhat the Sovietsplan deliberately to initiatear. Althoughsee certain advantages in the clandestine use ofif they decided deliberately to initiate an attack inof low tension, they probably would not wish to prejudice
1rt concerned only with the clandestine introduction otot man deatmcUon Into thc US pnor lo the initiation o( hoatuiuea.
tor example, paragraphl. Treruli in Sonet Foreign3
element of surprise on which this course of action relies. In the case of pre-emptive attack, introduction concurrentecision to pre-empt would be very difficult. Introductionontingent basis would run the risk of discovery and this risk would multiply with the number of weapons and the length of time that they were in the US. )
as the Soviets build larger missile forcesattacking the US, they mayontinued requirementnuclear attack in conjunction withide variety of US targets would beclandestine nuclear attack, we believe that the Sovietswould focus on the feasibility of attacking targets formissile systems are inappropriate because of aextreme accuracy or the desire to deny warning time.in this category might be key command and controlpossibly some manned alert forces. We believe thatwould consider thatmall number of USbe attacked with greater advantage by clandestinelyweapons than by nuclear weapons delivered byBut in view of the growing number and dispersaldelivery vehicles, the Soviets probably recognize that itimpracticable for them tolandestine nucleara sufficient number of them to reduce substantially thea US strike.
the Soviets are capable of introducingclandestinely Into the US, we believe that theof this course of action, when weighed againstof possible detection, make it unlikely thatwill do so. However, there cannot bo completethat the USSR will not attempt the clandestineof nuclear weapons into the
The Assistant Chief of Staff, Intelligence, USAF; the Director for Intelligence, Joint Staff; thc Assistant to thc Director. Pederal Bureau of InvestlgaUon; and the Director of the National Security Agency, do not concur in this paragraph.
They feel that as long as the Soviets have the capability for clandestine nuclear attack against selected important Urget? in Ihc US. with minimal risk, there is not enough evidence to make the judgment that such an attack Ls unlikely.
have no evidence of Soviet, plans or intentions regardingintroduction of mass destruction weapons into the US.of the likelihood that the USSR would resort to this formIs based upon considerations of Soviet capabilities forprobable Soviet views regarding the relationship of suchother Soviet capabilities for general war, the types of targetsbe clandestinely attacked with advantage, and the risksclandestine attack.
USSR canariety of nuclear, chemical, andweapons of mass destruction suitable for clandestineinto the US.
Thc USSR can produce nuclear devices ranging inone kiloton or less toT. To facilitate clandestinedevices yielding up toT could be designeddownumber of relatively simple and transportableNot much technical skill would be required to reassemblea low-yieldT orreater skill wouldtoeviceT; oncecould be transported in the luggage compartment of ansize, weight, and complexity of megaton devices woulduse except when transportedehicle suchhipruck.
The USSR has an extensive chemical warfarecouldariety of chemical agents suitable forInto the US. However, large quantities would beobtain effective concentrations on most types of targets, andprecise timing would be subject to unpredictable conditionsand weather. Nevertheless, chemical agents could bemall scale against personnel in key installations.of nerve gases ample for this purpose could be clandestinelyin the US without great difficulty or great risk ofagents could not readily be produced in the US andhave to be Introduced clandestinely. We believe,the possible advantages of psychogenic agents over nervenot be sufficient in the Soviet view to warrant the risk ofintroduction.
Although wc know little of the Soviet biologicalprogram, we believe that the USSR can produce biological agents
introduce them clandestinely into the US without great difficulty or great risk of detection. Biological agents could be delivered without Immediate detection and the source of attack would be difficult to identify. Such agents could be used to contaminate water and food supplies or koy government buildings. However, the delayed action of biological agents renders them unsuitable for use in situations requiring an immediate or precisely timed effect. Appropriate agents can be produced ln the US without great difficulty or risk.
In view of thc relative ease of manufacturing biological warfare agents in the US. we think lt unlikely that the Soviets would find it necessary to introduce such agents clandestinely. Chemical warfare agents would be difficult to Introduce and deliver in quantities sufficient to obtain effective concentrations on extensive target areas, while the smaller amounts necessary for selective attacks could be produced in the US. For these reasons, the following discussion is limited to aof the clandestine Introduction of nuclear weapons.
We do not know how many people are available to the Soviets for the clandestine Introduction of nuclear weapons into thc US, but it is unlikely that this factor would limit Soviet capabilities. We know that the Soviet Intelligence services haveigh priority to the development of sabotage capabilities in the US; should the Sovietsthe clandestine Introduction of nuclear weapons, they almostwould employ the highly trained and reliable agents of these services. They could also employ diplomatic personnel.
Nuclear weapons yielding upT could be brought into the USariety of means such as by ground or air transport across land borders or at points along US seacoasts. The difficulties of introducing megaton weapons Into the US, evenisassembled stale, are probably sufficiently great to seriously discourage such attempts. Moreover, megaton devices could be brought into US waters In submarines or merchant ships and detonated without removal from the ship. Such devices could also be carried in by fishing boals or similar small craft to which transfer had been made at sea.
III. CONSIDERATIONS AFIECTING SOVIET INTENTIONS
Soviets almost certainly recognise the seriouswould result from the detection of an attempt to introducenuclear weapons In the US. Despite all Soviet precautions,always be some risk of detection, arising not only fromsecurity measures but also from thc chanceS penetrationclandestine apparatus, thc defection of an agent, or sheerSoviets would expect detection toolitical crisis ofmagnitude, and to preclude any chance of achieving surprise. In
their view It might ovenS pre-emptive attack which would be disastrous for the USSR.
We believe that the USSR almost certainty would not contemplate the use of clandestinely delivered nuclear weapons except as ato other weapons In the context of general war. We haveelsewhere1 that the Soviets do not plan deliberately to initiatear. While we cannot completely exclude the possibility that the USSR might deliberatelyurprise attack, our evidence on forces being built and our judgment of general Soviet policy lead us to regard this as an extremely unlikely course of action over the next few years. To meet the requirements for pre-emptive and retaliatory attack, the Soviets are seeking to gear their capabilities against the US inay as to enable them to go into action on very short notice. In considering clandestine attackupplement to other weapons, therefore, thc Soviets would weigh their ability to initiate such attack rapidly and with little preparation, and in close coordination with the main weight of attack.
We have examined thc probable Sovicl view of clandestine attack in the caseeliberate Soviet initiation of general war and in the caseoviet pre-emptive attack.
Initiation. The Soviets mighl sec certainthc clandestine use of nuclear weapons if they decidedinitiate attackeriod of low tension. Weapons would be ina relatively short time before use, thereby minimizing thc riskIn addition, thc Soviets could expect that the levels ofprecautions and alertness would not have been raised.wc believe that the USSR would recognize that an attemptnuclear weapons clandestinely would inevitably involveof Jeopardizing the element of surprise on which this courserelies.
Attack. It would be very difficult for the USSRnuclear weapons into the US for usere-emptivedefinition, the circumstances would not allow sufficient time forand delivery of such weaponsecision tothe USSR would not be likely to concludeSimminent unless thc situation were so tense that the US, onwould be taking extraordinary security precautions whichincrease the risk tbat subsidiary clandestine operationsthc main Soviet effort. To be prepared to use clandestinely
'Sec. for example, paragraph IS of, "Trends In Soviet Foreign
'Pre-emptive attack is defined as an attack with immediately available forces designed to seize the strategic IniUaUvc from an enemy who is himself preparing imminently to attack.
Introduced nuclear weapons in this case, the USSR would therefore have to accept thc risks of maintaining weapons in the USeriod of time. We believe tbat the Soviets would recognize that the risks of discovery would multiply with the number of weapons and the length of time that they were in the US. The USSR almost certainly would not attempt to maintain moremall number of nuclear weapons, if any, in the US for an indefinite period."
IV. EFFECTIVENESS AGAINST VARIOUS TARGETS
as the Soviets build larger missile forces capable ofUS, they mayontinued requirement for clandestineIn conjunction with long-range attack.ideUS targets would be vulnerable to clandestine nuclear attack,that the Soviets probably would focus on thc feasibility oftargets for which their missile systems areequirement for extreme accuracy or the desire to denytime. Targets in this category mighl be key command andand possibly some manned alert forces. We believe thatwould consider thatmall number of US targets couldwith greater advantage by clandestinely placed nuclearthan by nuclear weapons delivered by other means.
Thc Soviets probably recognize that US security measuresonsiderably higher level of protection against penetration of strategic bases than against delivery of clandestine attacks at the perimeters of such Installations. The detonationT nuclear device could cripple aircraft on thc groundistance of severalinute-man launch control center (hardenedsi) would be vulnerableurface burstTistanceeet* But in view of the growing number and dispersal of US delivery vehicles, the Soviets probably recognize that ft would be impracticable for them tolandestine nuclear atlackufficient number of them to reduce substantially the weightS slrike.
The Soviets might believe that key US Government officials and command centers could be attacked by clandestinely introduced nuclear weapons with greater advantage than by missiles. Nuclear weapons lnT range could be used In such an attack. Underpractices with respect to diplomatic immunity, the USSR would Incur no appreciable risk of detection in assembling suitable nuclear
'The objection to advance clandestine introduction of nuclear weaponsre-emptive atlack would also apply to piqiaralionetaliatory atlack.
'The Soviets are almost certainly aware thai Minuteman control mechanisms are such that the destruction ol one launch renter could not be counted upon lo prevent Uie firingthelsaliec tbat it controls InlereonneeUnt controls are provided so that any one of the rive launch control centers associatedquadroninuteman alios could Uuu.r. the entire squadron.
in diplomatic premises such as lhe Soviel Embassy in Washington. Hie principal advantage of such an attack would be its denial of warning time and the minimal risk of discovery. However, the Soviets could never be sure that key US officials would be vulnerable at atime of detonation, oruccessful clandestine nuclear attack against Washington, for example, would significantlyS decision to release nuclear strike forces.
V. UKEUHOOO OF CLANDESTINE NUCLEAR ATTACK
lthough the Soviets are capable of introducing nuclear weapons clandestinely into thc US, we believe that the limited advantages of this course of action, when weighed against the consequences of possible detection, make it unlikely that the Sovieis will do so. However, there cannot be complete assurance thai the USSR will not attempt the clandestine introduction of nuclear weapons into the US.*
'The AuUUnt Chief of SlalT, Intel licence. USAF: the Direclor for intelligence, Joint SUIT: tbe AuUtant to the Director. Federal Burrsu ot Ir.vcstip.iUon: and the Director of the National Security Agency. Oo not concur In this paragraph.
They feel that as long as the Soviets have the capability for clandestine nuclear attack against selected Important targets In the VS. with minimal risk, there is not enough erldence to make the judgment thac such an attack is unlikely.
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Federal 3urccu ol InveiligalwnOriginal document.