ACCESSION NUMBER:362147 FILE ID:EUR124 1ATE:09/26/94 TITLE:FBI CHIEF EXPRESSES CONCERN ABOUT NUCLEAR MATERIALS THEFT (09/26/94) TEXT:*94092602.PFE *EUR124 09/26/94 FBI CHIEF EXPRESSES CONCERN ABOUT NUCLEAR MATERIALS THEFT (Also discusses law enforcement in Central Europe) (600) By David Pitts USIA Staff Writer Washington -- FBI Director Louis Freeh said September 26 that he is "greatly concerned" about the smuggling and theft of nuclear materials from the former Soviet Union. Speaking at a conference on organized crime, Freeh called for action on two fronts -- "at the G-7 summit level, we have to have our ministries of defense redouble our physical and electronic security programs, and on the law enforcement level we have to infiltrate the market." With a major increased effort, Freeh said, "I think you'll see an immediate impact on the market, but it has to be done from the top and from the bottom." Nuclear materials "provide another means by which criminals can readily achieve both power and money," Freeh noted. "Terrorist groups and outlaw nations provide a ready-made market, prepared to pay top-dollar for these commodities," he added. "The potential results of their obtaining such materials can only be described as catastrophic. The possibilities of the sale and diversion of nuclear materials are, unfortunately, all too real," Freeh continued. Freeh said that he found great concern about this issue on his recent visit to Europe. Freeh and other senior U.S. officials visited nine nations, including Russia and Ukraine. He met top law enforcement officials in each country and the presidents of five of the countries. "During our meeting with President Walesa of Poland, he expressed concerns about nuclear blackmail. He recognized that someone could threaten to contaminate the water supply in Poland with nuclear materials brought across Poland's borders from Ukraine or Russia," Freeh explained. "As we know from the several recent seizures of nuclear materials in Germany -- including weapons-grade quality plutonium and enriched uranium -- the nuclear threat cannot be discounted," he added. "We are firm, however. The specter of a free nation held hostage is one that simply cannot be tolerated," Freeh remarked. He stressed that a law enforcement solution is needed as well as a response from intelligence agencies. As far as the quality of law enforcement in general is concerned in the former communist countries of Central Europe and the former Soviet Union, Freeh acknowledged serious problems ranging from low pay to lingering public suspicions based on the role once played by law enforcement there. "For their part, the law enforcement officials that we met with expressed a commitment to conduct their business professionally and in accordance with the rule of law. Some of those officials pointed out that they had, themselves, been oppressed by prior regimes," Freeh said. "We found that these countries want to learn from the American experience," he added. Freeh recommended an increase in training programs for foreign police counterparts in Central Europe and the former Soviet Union. On his trip overseas, Freeh said both Germany and Austria offered to provide some of the needed assistance to ease the burden on the United States. Asked to comment on the powers accorded President Yeltsin by recent emergency decrees, Freeh said, "those decrees are ultimately an unsuccessful formula for earning the support of the people, and we expressed that view to Russian officials." But he also said that it is his 1nderstanding that the decrees are temporary, prior to the enactment of certain laws by the Duma. "We have to be realistic about the situation. Russia will never become America and America will never become Russia," Freeh noted. He said that even the legal systems of Western Europe "do not mirror our Bill of Rights." NNNN .