In the run up to the Iraq War, the New York Times famously reported on an Iraqi scheme to procure special aluminum tubes that could only have one purpose: Iraq's secret nuclear weapons program. The claims were false–Iraq, as it turned out, had no nuclear program–but still hugely influential.
Joby Warrick's Washington Post article (11/14/11) on the new International Atomic Energy Agency report on Iran goes wrong from the first sentence: When the Cold War abruptly ended in 1991, Vyacheslav Danilenko was a Soviet weapons scientist in need of a new line of work. Well, no. Danilenko is allegedly a nuclear weapons scientist–but neither the IAEA or Warrick present any actual evidence that he was any such thing. Rather, the documents disclosed so far suggest that Danilenko is what he says he is: an expert on the use of explosions to make tiny, industrial-grade diamonds known as nanodiamonds. His […]