Rachel Maddow handed off most of her show to executive producer Bill Wolff tonight, but still found time to film one segment – and, in this slow week, it refreshingly contained some actual news. Apparently, over the Christmas weekend, the U.S.’ National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) collaborated with Ukraine to remove 111 pounds of highly enriched uranium – enough to make two nuclear weapons – from Ukraine to a secured facility, and Maddow welcomed NNSA Administrator Thomas D’Agostino to discuss the mission.
It was clear throughout that this is an issue close to Maddow’s heart, as she said she’s “obsessed with the prospect of nuclear smuggling,” and said D’Agostino’s position as the U.S.’ Under Secretary for Nuclear Security is essentially the same as “Under Secretary for saving the world.” She also brought up President Obama’s agenda to “secure all vulnerable nuclear material around the world within four years” – a goal in which this Ukraine mission was an important part.
D’Agostino was understandably thrilled at the mission’s success, calling it “a tremendous accomplishment” and lauded the collaboration between the U.S., Ukraine, Russia, and the U.K. to make it happen. He also said the U.S. is done securing the “vulnerable nuclear material” in 19 of 35 targeted nations. It was interesting to hear D’Agostino talk about the absolute secrecy under which such missions must be performed, since, as Maddow said, “stuff that bad guys want is most vulnerable to those bad guys when it is in transit.”
Video of the segment, via MSNBC, below. Maddow made the analogy that this mission is like something out of a spy novel, and hearing it, it’s tough to disagree – except this, of course, was real, it was important, it was dangerous, and unlike so much of the material on shows of this sort this week, had nothing to do with years-old news about Michael Vick.
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