130. Editorial Note

In a study of the Israeli nuclear program, Avner Cohen drew upon the recollections of physicist Edward Teller and the testimony of Carl Duckett, a former CIA Deputy Director for Science and Technology, and explored the question of whether Israel had become a “nuclear-weapon state” in 1968. Teller told Duckett that his contacts in the Israeli scientific community led him to the “personal opinion” and “conjecture” that Israel was in possession of nuclear weapons. Teller was a consultant with the CIA and his views informed a National Intelligence [Page 258] Estimate, which Duckett said was drafted by the CIA, that drew the conclusion that Israel had nuclear weapons. (Israel and the Bomb, New York: Columbia University Press, 1998, pages 297-298, 421) Duckett testified before the Nuclear Regulatory Commission in 1978 that he took the estimate to Director of Central Intelligence Richard Helms and Helms told him not to publish it. He said Helms later told him that he had taken the matter up with President Johnson and Johnson had instructed him: “Don’t tell anyone else, even Dean Rusk and Robert McNamara.” (Inquiry into the testimony of the Executive Director for Operations, Vol. 3, Interviews, Office of the General Counsel, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, National Security Archive Collection on Non-Proliferation, #26090) No such estimate has been found.