As the Uranium One story trickles out in the mainstream news, alternative news sites and social media are jumping all over it, with all sorts of speculations and claims. One specific claim keeps popping up, ever since this July, 29, 2017 tweet from Wikileaks. This claim is that former FBI Director Robert Mueller hand delivered a sample of highly enriched uranium, or HEU, to Russian law enforcement. According to a leaked cable published by Wikileaks, this is indeed true. However, many in the alt media seem to be suggesting that this sample of HEU given to the Russians is somehow related to the Uranium One deal, which is untrue.
Many alt media sites insert the fact that Mueller gave the HEU sample to Russia while discussing the possible scandals surrounding the Uranium One deal without giving the full story, as if to imply that this sample is somehow related to that deal. And, of course, people on social media are spreading the rumor far and wide. But, they aren’t giving the back story, apparently relying on the fact that their audience won’t read the leaked cable themselves. The following is from the leaked cable:
“Background: Over two years ago Russia requested a ten-gram sample of highly enriched uranium (HEU) seized in early 2006 in Georgia during a nuclear smuggling sting operation involving one Russian national and several Georgian accomplices. The seized HEU was transferred to U.S. custody and is being held at a secure DOE facility. In response to the Russian request, the Georgian Government authorized the United States to share a sample of the material with the Russians for forensic analysis.”
But here is what Wikileaks highlighted in the tweet linked above:
- “(S/Rel Russia) Action request: Embassy Moscow is requested to alert at the highest appropriate level the Russian Federation that FBI Director Mueller plans to deliver the HEU sample once he arrives to Moscow on September 21. Post is requested to convey information in paragraph 5 with regard to chain of custody, and to request details on Russian Federation’s plan for picking up the material. Embassy is also requested to reconfirm the April 16 understanding from the FSB verbally that we will have no problem with the Russian Ministry of Aviation concerning Mueller’s September 21 flight clearance.”
The leaked cable makes it clear that the sample of HEU that Mueller gave to Russia was from uranium suspected of being stolen from a Russian facility, and Russia wanted the sample in order to confirm the origin of that uranium. The cable does not say anywhere that the sample came from any uranium mined in US mines owned by Uranium One. The cable does not claim that the sample has any relation whatsoever to the Uranium One deal. But that hasn’t stopped the claims that it does.
Is there reason to question and investigate the Uranium One deal? Yes. But spreading false information about the story, whether by directly lying or by omitting important facts, only serves to misdirect attention from the true facts as we learn them. It also calls into question the credibility and integrity of any alternative news outlet that uses this tactic.