With the term “weapons of mass destruction” having not yet fully come into general usage, this NIE used the term “special weapons” to describe nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons (formerly the term “special weapons” was sometimes used to describe nuclear weapons only). With numerous excisions, including the names of some countries in the sections on “East Asia and the Pacific” and “Central America,” this wide-ranging estimate provides broad-brushed, sometimes superficial, pictures of the situations in numerous countries along with coverage of international controls to halt sensitive technology exports to suspect countries.
January 20, 1966
National Intelligence Estimate, NIE 4-66, 'The Likelihood of Further Nuclear Proliferation'
This document was made possible with support from Carnegie Corporation of New York (CCNY)
This estimate updated an estimate (NIE-4-2-64) published in 1964 of the nuclear proliferation problem. That estimate, like this one, overestimated the likelihood of an Indian bomb, while somewhat underestimating Israel’s program. This assessment followed the same pattern—predicting India would produce a weapon within a “few years” and also putting Israel in the “might” category, although treating it as a “serious contender” nonetheless. Also following a short discussion of the “snowball effect” (later known as “proliferation cascades” or “chains”) suggesting that the United Arab Republic (Egypt-Syria) and Pakistan were likely to take the nuclear option should India or Israel go nuclear.
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