Friday, September 17, 2010

Disgruntled physicist

"Disgruntled" and "physicist" are words you don't want to read in the same sentence.

The same applies to "Venezuela" and "nuclear bomb."

From NPR --

A former scientist at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico, who left following a dispute over funding, and his wife — who also worked at the facility — face federal charges in a sting operation built on the scientist's alleged offer to help build Venezuela a nuclear bomb.

Pedro Leonardo Mascheroni, 75, and Marjorie Roxby Mascheroni, 67, were charged in a 22-count indictment returned Thursday in a federal court in Albuquerque, N.M.

NPR's Carrie Johnson tells All Things Considered co-host Melissa Block that Pedro Mascheroni worked in a secret unit called the X Division. The scientist held a Q-level security clearance that allowed him access to certain classified information, including "restricted data."

"He got into a big fight with the Department of Energy after speaking out over its failure to fund a project that he highly supported," Johnson says. "The government wound up investigating him and yanked his security clearance in 1987. He ultimately left and filed a lawsuit.

"Sources tell me he kept on being disgruntled all these years," she says.

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