The Paducah Sun

February 19, 2000

CIA denies recent Paducah visit

By Joe Walker
Sun Business Editor

A spokesman for the Central Intelligence Agency said he has no information that an agent interviewed workers at the Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant in recent days.

"I haven't found any indication that anyone has been down there recently, but people who do analyses on weapons of mass destruction programs do visit facilities like that," CIA spokesman Tom Crispell said by phone from Washington. "My understanding is that Paducah is a place they have visited in the past to learn how the uranium enrichment process works."

Crispell said he is unaware that any CIA agent has been at the plant recently, and an agent "certainly wouldn't have been down there in an investigative context."

Sources told the Sun last week that a CIA agent was at the plant, interviewing employees amid a Department of Energy investigation into the past use and disposal of nuclear weapons components there.

Crispell said the CIA works abroad and has no jurisdiction in the United States. Its agents visit U.S. plants to gather information for possible use internationally, he said.

"So we're a little confused and perplexed about interviewing employees," he said. "I don't know what that rumor is about."

Although plant operator USEC Inc. is known to be considering gas centrifuge, a foreign technology, to replace gaseous diffusion, Crispell said the CIA would not be involved in gathering information about that.

"The CIA doesn't work on behalf of U.S. companies," he said.