Last year, a car carrying two Armenian men set off a gamma alarm at the Georgia border, but they were allowed in after they blamed it on a recent surgery. Border agents were supposed to ask for a doctor's note.
According to a State Department cable released by Wikileaks, the incident happened in August 2009 at the Sadakhlo crossing on the Gerogia/Armenia border. When the gamma alarm went off, the two men were questioned but soon released.
The driver of the vehicle said that he had recently had surgery, during which time a radioactive isotope was injected into his body. The patrol police accepted this explanation, requiring no documentation or proof from the driver, and allowed the vehicle and occupants to enter Georgia (Note: According to standard procedures, the driver should have had a doctor's note or some documentation confirming this. End note)
That's right — if you're looking to smuggle nukes into Georgia, you just need to have a doctor's note on hand and you'll be set. The next day, the same car set off the gamma alarm on the way back into Armenia. This finally prompted a search of the vehicle.
At this point, the occupants were detained and the patrol police, using a handheld pager, determined that the car was contaminated with Qhandheld pager, determined that the car was contaminated with Cesium-137 (Cs-137).
This time, one of the passengers said the radiation alarm probably went off because he lived near a radio station, and the men were allowed to pass again. The incident may have wised the border agents up, because in March two Armenian men were arrested on a train trying to smuggle highly enriched uranium into Georgia. Either way, that's one sketchy border.
[Guardian; Image via Shutterstock]