The New York Times has posted a criminal complaint that was filed yesterday in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida against Patrick Campbell, a citizen of Sierra Leone who is accused of engaging with a buyer in the United States to send 1,000 tons of yellowcake uranium to Iran. Campbell was arrested on arrival at JFK airport, en route to meet his buyer in Miami.
Read it here: Criminal Complaint Against Patrick Campbell.
I'm astonished that this story has gotten no interest so far from the Washington DC media. At least, as of mid-afternoon on August 23, it hasn't been reported in the WaPo or any other newspaper that I checked. Are they too preoccupied with Syria and Egypt to notice an arrest involving nuclear weapon precursor material and Iran?
Or maybe they don't think this Patrick Campbell fellow is all that impressive as an International Man of Mystery. Consider these gems from the criminal complaint:
- Campbell was dealing with an undercover U.S. law enforcement agent - of course - when he offered to sell uranium ore to Iran.
- Campbell apparently hasn't followed the news about Edward Snowden, NSA, and all that, because he responded to a solicitation on the internet seeking a seller of yellowcake uranium ore, and he used telephones and Skype to negotiate with the buyer.
- Campbell agreed to come to the United States to pitch the deal to the buyer, and even to bring samples of Uranium 308 with him. My favorite part of the compliant is in paragraph 28, where the undercover agent insisted "it was up to Campbell to prove that this was not a scam" by flying over to the U.S. with his criminal wares. I mean, really, who falls for that?
Campbell even brought his sales pitch with him. On PowerPoint slides, naturally, loaded on a thumb drive. That, and the Skype conversations, will make wonderful exhibits for the prosecution. The Skype convos must have been priceless.
"Yeah, I know this is illegal ... no problem, I'll disguise the yellowcake as chomite ... believe me, I can get anything out of the port of Sierra Leone using my mineral export company ... hey, I've done this kind of deal before with China and Ecuador ... of course I'm for real - I'll come over there right now and prove it to you!"
He faces up to 20 years in prison, which might be long enough to get over the embarrassment of such amateurishness.