Federal agents seized computers, papers, books and electronic equipment from the home of a former Los Alamos National Laboratory nuclear scientist, who last year sought to work on a fusion project with Venezuela but believes the U.S. government is wrongly targeting him as a spy.
P. Leonardo Mascheroni told The Associated Press in a telephone interview from his home that four FBI agents searched his home for 13 hours. The agents, he said, led him to believe they were investigating him for espionage.
“I am not a spy,” Mascheroni said. “If I were a spy, a long time ago I would have gone away from the United States with all my knowledge. Instead, I stay in my house all the time and am working all the time and presenting all the time to Congress. Is that what a spy does?”
FBI spokesman Darrin Jones confirmed the agency is pursuing an “ongoing investigation” in Los Alamos, but declined further comment Wednesday. No charges have been filed against Mascheroni.
Meanwhile, Mascheroni’s wife, Marjorie, a technical writer at the lab, was placed on administrative leave while the lab conducts an internal investigation, according to the lab.
P. Leonardo Mascheroni joined the Northern New Mexico lab in 1979, and worked in its X Division, which designs nuclear weapons, until 1987. He was laid off in 1988.
Lab spokeswoman Lisa Rosendorf said he lost his job during layoffs that were prompted by budget cuts, but his supporters at the time said he was blackballed by the lab.
Mascheroni’s pet project is using a hydrogen-fluoride laser to generate a fusion reaction. He’s followed a dogged path trying to convince US government agencies to get his method a trial.
Two years ago he approached the Venezuelan government as well as researchers in Europe looking for a job that would enable his inquiry. He was contacted by – and spent 90 minutes in conversation – with someone who claimed to represent the Venezuelan government. Along with the discussion, he gave him a CD with general info from the Web to back up his proposal – all public info.
That’s the sum total, folks.