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The Pontecorvo AffairA Cold War Defection and Nuclear Physics$
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Simone Turchetti

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780226816647

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: March 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226816661.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 03 July 2022

Under Surveillance

Under Surveillance

(p.69) 3 Under Surveillance
The Pontecorvo Affair
University of Chicago Press

This chapter, which investigates the shaping of nuclear security during and after Cold War, and how it impacted Bruno Pontecorvo's life and career before his defection, highlights the controversial nature of investigative work and how the action of intelligence services was a key factor in Pontecorvo's decision to leave the West. Recycling nonspecific details on Pontecorvo helped to reduce public pressure on the security services when they were accused of laxity in protecting nuclear secrets. The discrepancy between the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) report and the British Security Coordination evaluation activated a major trans-Atlantic row in the wake of the Pontecorvo affair. The investigations that raised reasonable doubt about the continuation of Pontecorvo's employment alienated him, and set the conditions for him to consider a career change.

Keywords:   nuclear security, Bruno Pontecorvo, intelligence services, FBI, British Security Coordination, Pontecorvo affair

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