I am Walter Goad, Fellow Emeritus of the Los Alamos National Laboratory. At LANL, Fellow is a status recognizing scientific excellence outside the managerial ladder. I hold a PhD in Physics from Duke University. I have been awarded a Los Alamos National Laboratory Distinguished Service Award and am a Fellow of the American Physical Society and of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. I reside at 156 Santa Fe County Road 84C, Espanola, NM 87532.

I joined the staff of the Theoretical Division of what was then the Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory in late 1950, as the crash program to develop thermonuclear weapons was getting underway. The crash program was ordered by President Truman in the wake of the first Soviet atomic bomb test. I came out from Duke with my professor, Lothar Nordheim, who had been recruited to visit for a year by Edward Teller. For the next fifteen years I was a member of the team that developed the first thermonuclear weapons and several subsequent generations of thermonuclear weapons.

Development of nuclear weapons is the work of many hands. Science, engineering, fabrication and testing are all necessary, and in all these efforts creating workable concepts is the key to success. At the core of the work is a team of theoretical physicists who must find workable concepts for the basic design of the weapon itself. They have to understand and analyze all the physical mechanisms and material behaviors involved in the explosion of the weapon, and with feedback from all the other groups involved, come up with the detailed design. I was a member of this core theoretical team at Los Alamos, contributing to every aspect of its work.

The late J. Carson Mark was Theoretical Division Leader and shepherded the work with great skill and wisdom. Otherwise, the theoretical team was without formal hierarchy. Dr. Mark often summarized the current status of our work, sketching a view of current priorities, and members of the team took on problems according to individual abilities and interests. The core team usually averaged a dozen people or so, sometimes augmented by such eminent visitors as Enrico Fermi and Hans Bethe. We developed the basic approaches which still form the basis of U.S. nuclear design efforts, including early versions of the computer codes. Gradually, in the 1960s, the work became more structured, and a Theoretical Design Division was formed, predecessor of the current X-Division. Now, as current leaders of the nuclear weapons effort have testified, X-Division has hundreds of members in a highly structured organization.

Around 1960 cooperation with the U.K. nuclear weapons effort, which had been suspended at the end of WWII, was reinstated, and for several years I served on Joint Working Groups whose mission was to see how we could now help each other. The U.K. effort was nearly as unstructured as our own. I feel that I have direct hands-on experience in two distinct nuclear weapons programs, experience with a breadth that is now rare.

Since about 1970, I have worked primarily on research in computational biology, although I have continued to follow the weapons program with interest.

I have studied the indictment of Dr. Wen Ho Lee, and the transcript of his detention hearing before Judge Parker. I have also studied the testimony of Dr. Stephen Younger before Magistrate Judge Svet.

Dr. Younger before Magistrate Judge Svet, and then Dr. Paul Robinson before Judge Parker, testified in apocalyptic terms of danger to the U.S. strategic position posed by the computer codes and data copied onto tapes by Dr. Wen Ho Lee. My experience and expertise tells me that these assertions are exaggerations, grossly misleading in their import. As I explain more fully in the Appendix (which I incorporate in this declaration) the scientific knowledge and computational expertise required for nuclear weapons design is now widely dispersed. Therefore any nation with a substantial scientific establishment is capable of designing nuclear weapons on its own. Only a group already deeply engaged in the design of nuclear weapons could profit from the Lee tapes (if they still exist). At most, the U.S. codes and data could augment, not revolutionize, their efforts. Furthermore, changes in the world strategic balance require not just scientific expertise and information, but the commitment of extensive technical and industrial resources to the practical development, production, and deployment of weapons and weapons carriers.

Dr. Robinson's testimony that loss of the Lee tapes could catastrophically endanger U.S. missile defense deserves special notice. In the late 1950s, Dr. Lew Allen and I made the first assessment of the nuclear aspects of missile defense by nuclear warhead-carrying anti-missile-missiles. Dr. Allen was then an Air Force Captain; later he became Air Force Chief of Staff and Director, successively, of the National Security Agency and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. The missile defense system now under consideration would not use this technology, but the fundamental problem of missile defense was already clear. At very low cost, attacking missiles can in mid-flight deploy decoys or enveloping radar shields which can effectively confuse any defense. Nothing has changed that. For any nation developing missile carriers for nuclear weapons, the kinds of incremental advances available from advanced nuclear weapons design have essentially no impact on this basic problem of missile defense.

Summing up, Drs. Younger and Robinson assert that in foreign hands the Lee tapes could reorder the world strategic balance, that their possible existence poses a danger equivalent to "betting the country" or leaving the "crown jewels" open to theft. From the perspective of my experience and expertise, these assertions represent unbridled exaggeration. The result is not a measured judgment of risk, but incitement of apprehension, even paranoia, that can override fairness and justice.

Unhappily, our history has seen other examples in which exaggerations of danger have overridden the traditional American values of fairness and justice--most memorably to people of my generation, in the era of Senator Joseph McCarthy. These currents of fear are always deeply troubling and damaging, and in this case are doing specific and incalculable damage to the very military-scientific establishment that is ostensibly being protected.

I declare under penalty of perjury that the foregoing is true and correct.

Executed on May 17, 2000.

Walter Goad


New scientific discoveries in the 1920s and 1930s made nuclear weapons possible and by the onset of WWII this was widely understood around the world. The question was, could a workable weapon be built. Those who thought deeply about the problem knew, roughly, how to go about finding out. The U.S. succeeded by bringing enough scientific talent and industrial capability to the task, redirecting resources from other areas of military technology. The Germans seem to have failed because they thought a workable weapon could not be developed, and certainly not by the Americans. The biggest secret, that it was possible, was broken to the world by the detonations at Hiroshima and Nagasaki. In the years since, the technology of nuclear weapons has been widely publicized in magazine articles and books, and now on the Internet.

Now, 55 years after Hiroshima, the fundamental data and the computational methods needed by nuclear weapons designers have been brought to a high state of development by the worldwide scientific community pursuing not weapons design but fundamental scientific questions. There has been much work on the structure and behavior of stars and astronomical objects of all kinds. Scientists have pursued the behavior of extreme states of matter in these and all kinds of other cosmic and terrestrial contexts, including nuclear and thermonuclear reactors. There has been much work in computational physics of the atmosphere and the coupled ocean dynamics. These represent systems at least as complex, in many ways more complex, than nuclear weapons. The basic problems and techniques of computation and physical analysis extend seamlessly over all these fields.

And in all these endeavors, there have remained basic scientific problems of computability which cannot be solved by more computing power alone. These are typified by the problem of long range predictions of weather and climate, and extend to predictions of nuclear weapons behavior. This accounts for the fact that, after the enormous investment of effort over many years, weapons codes can still not be relied on for significantly new designs. This is testified to, for example, by Dr. Paul Robinson before the Senate Armed Services Committee on the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. He opposed the treaty on the ground that, to develop significantly new nuclear weapons, the U.S. required the ability to conduct tests.

In some corners of the world of relevant data, there are results from classified work in the U.S. that are of value in improving the accuracy of some of the computational modules of the U.S. weapons codes. These incremental improvements are of value, of course, but make marginal contributions to the overall reliability of the codes.

To pursue nuclear weapons development requires commitment by a substantial group of able scientists. The techniques and data needed are at hand in the scientific literature, but the group must come, by practice, to thoroughly understand them. (As Dr. Younger testified before Magistrate Judge Svet, "it is possible to run [the U.S. codes] and get the wrong answer"). To actually achieve results, the design group must be part of a much larger engineering and industrial-military complex. Dr. Younger suggests that such a group could train itself by studying the hundreds of thousands of lines of computer code included in the Lee tapes. I think this a particularly inefficient way of going about it, given all the fundamental information in the scientific literature, although to the extent that the databases accompanying the codes save effort needed to marshal relevant data, they could make a contribution to the design group's efforts.

No computer code is in itself a recipe to be relied on. Scientific judgment must deal with uncertainties in the relation of computation to reality in ways consonant with the particular priorities and resources at hand--reconciling reliability and safety, cost and availability of materials and manufacturing capabilities, suiting warheads to carrier design, and so on. Only a highly capable group would have any chance of using U.S. source-language design codes to find out how U.S. scientists deal with these uncertainties by appealing to test data. Although any group with limited manpower would find it a severe drain of effort to trace through and understand hundreds of thousands of lines of source code, it is possible that it could realize some advancement of its effort if it came to understand aspects of U.S. experience.

The extent to which test data is included in the Lee tapes has not been established in the testimony produced by the government. Nevertheless, in considering how such data might be used, we have first to remember that the U.S. designs its weapons in the context of a lavish nuclear-military industrial complex, almost unlimited in its capability; no particular U.S. design is likely to closely match another group's priorities. Second, as indicated above, the use of design codes to extrapolate significantly beyond tested designs is highly problematical. Thus, any group that relied on its understanding of U.S. experience from the Lee tapes alone would significantly expand the inherent uncertainties of its work. The Lee tapes might augment an experienced foreign design group's work, but not qualitatively change it.

We can note the conditions under which two relatively poor nations, India and Pakistan, recently acquired nuclear weapons. Both possess substantial scientific establishments and were willing to commit the required resources. As dangerous as these developments are to the stability of the region, no one has argued that they affect the world strategic balance.

Earlier, China tested a number of nuclear weapons. It has a large pool of well-trained scientists, many educated in the West, and it also has, at least potentially, extensive resources for building weapons and carriers and maintaining them. Its ability to shift the world strategic balance depends on its committing the required resources to building and maintaining weapons and carriers. Just as the U.S., it undoubtedly has the ability to design weapons tailored to particular military uses, but with its own design priorities. For all the reasons discussed above, there is no reason to suppose that knowledge of U.S. computer codes and design practices could more than modestly augment Chinese capabilities.

In summary, the situation created by proliferating nuclear weapons is indeed dangerous, but there is no reason to suppose that deciphering and running the complicated computer codes with accompanying data on the Lee tapes could make more than a marginal difference. As noted above, for all its scientific and computational might, the U.S. is still only able to make incremental advances on the basis of computer codes.

Nevertheless, the U.S. classified literature, taken as a whole, contains a great deal of information acquired at great cost, and its protection is properly a national priority. These secrets are much more akin to ordinary industrial proprietary secrets whose loss could offer finite but valuable aid to a competitor than to crown jewels whose loss would be catastrophic.