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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

CIA Director Warns of Missing Nukes

Enough weapons-grade nuclear material has gone missing from Russian facilities to build a nuclear bomb, new CIA director Porter Goss told U.S. senators.

The Federal Nuclear Power Agency and a defense specialist, however, cast doubt on Goss' claim.

"There is sufficient material unaccounted for, so that it would be possible for those with know-how to construct a nuclear weapon," Goss told the Senate intelligence committee on Wednesday, ABC News reported. He said he could not guarantee that none of the material has ended up in terrorist hands.

ABC quoted a former U.S. Energy Department official as saying that Goss was underestimating the threat and that enough material might be missing to build thousands of nuclear weapons.

A Federal Nuclear Power Agency spokesman — reiterating previous Russian statements — said Thursday that no weapons-grade material has ever gone missing from Russian nuclear facilities.

Ivan Safranchuk, head of the Washington-based Center for Defense Information's Moscow office, said that even if enough material had gone missing over time, it would be a stretch to suggest that it could somehow end up with a single terrorist group and that this group has the expertise needed to build a bomb.

There have been several documented cases of weapons-grade materials that were stolen or went missing from former Soviet nuclear facilities.