Joseph Cirincione

Former Senior Associate
Director for NonProliferation


B.A., Boston College; M.S., Georgetown School of Foreign Service


This person is no longer with the Carnegie Endowment.

Joseph Cirincione was the Director for Non-Proliferation at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and author of Deadly Arsenals: Nuclear, Biological and Chemical Threats, (Second Edition, 2005) and co-author of Universal Compliance: A Strategy for Nuclear Security (March 2005). He teaches at the Georgetown University Graduate School of Foreign Service and is one of America’s best known weapons experts, appearing frequently in print and on FOX News, CNN, ABC, NBC, PBS, NPR and occasionally on Comedy Central.

Joseph Cirincione appears in the 2005 award-winning documentary, "Why We Fight," by Eugene Jarecki.

In May 2004 the National Journal listed Cirincione as one of the 100 people who will play a critical role in the policy debates of this administration. The World Affairs Councils of America also named him one of 500 people whose views have the most influence in shaping American foreign policy.

Cirincione worked for nine years in the U.S. House of Representatives on the professional staff of the Committee on Armed Services and the Committee on Government Operations. He is the author of numerous articles on proliferation and weapons issues, a co-author of WMD in Iraq: Evidence and Implication (January 2004), the editor of Repairing the Regime (Routledge, 2000) and producer of the award-winning DVD, The Proliferation Threat.

He was the publisher and editor of the Internet site, In December 2003 the National Journal said "Cirincione was a trailblazer, recognizing the Web's potential long before others in the field did. This site reflects his experience at making voluminous information easily accessible." He organized and chaired the annual Carnegie International Non-Proliferation Conference, the premier event in the field.

He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the International Institute for Strategic Studies. He is an honors graduate of Boston College and holds a Masters of Science with highest honors from the Georgetown School of Foreign Service.

Selected Publications: WMD in Iraq: Evidence and Implications (Carnegie Endowment Report, January 2004); North Korea and Iran: Test Cases for an Improved Nonproliferation Regime? (Arms Control Today, December 2003); Deadly Arsenals: Tracking Weapons of Mass Destruction (Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 2002)

  • Universal Compliance 2007 Edition
    Report June 20, 2007
    Universal Compliance: A Strategy for Nuclear Security
    With 2007 Report Card on Progress

    A team of leading nonproliferation experts offers a blueprint for rethinking the international nonproliferation regime. They offer a fresh approach to deal with states and terrorists, nuclear weapons, and fissile materials through a twenty-step, priority action agenda.

  • Proliferation Analysis April 4, 2006
    The End of Neoconservatism

    If Francis Fukuyama is right, the neoconservative movement is dying. Good riddance. Through their network within the Bush administration, these intellectuals wreaked havoc on American national security interests, ruined the international reputation of the country and drove up a staggering national debt.

  • Op-Ed Council on Foreign Relations Interview April 4, 2006
    Cirincione: Time For Clear Public Understanding of Iranian Threat

    Some in the U.S. administration have already made up their minds that they would like to launch a military strike against Iran, if the UN Security Council does not impose sanctions on Iran. This is a counterproductive move to the goal of enabling the Iranian people to choose their own government.

  • Op-Ed Foreign Policy March 27, 2006
    Fool Me Twice
  • Proliferation Analysis March 22, 2006
    Let’s Go to the Videotape

    On March 20th, President George Bush said in Cleveland: “If I might correct a misperception, I don’t think we ever said, at least I know I didn’t say that there was a direct connection between September 11th and Saddam Hussein.”


    To help judge the accuracy of this statement we reprint below a section from WMD in Iraq:  Evidence and Implications, by Joseph Cirincione, Jessica Mathews and George Perkovich (Carnegie Endowment, January 2004).  It begins with a selection of official statements on the connection, then examines the evidence supporting these statements before and after the invasion.  Since publication of the report the evidence that there was no operational connection between Al Qaeda and Iraq has only grown stronger.




    Administration Statements


    Administration officials said that Iraq had operational ties to Al Qaeda, would give terrorists weapons of mass destruction to use against the United States, and implied that Saddam Hussein was linked to the September 11 attacks.

    • “[T]here clearly are contacts between Al Qaeda and Iraq . . . there clearly is testimony that some of the contacts have been important contacts and that there’s a relationship here.” (National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice, PBS “NewsHour with Jim Lehrer,” 25 September 2002)
    • “Evidence from intelligence sources, secret communications, and statements by people now in custody reveal that Saddam Hussein aids and protects terrorists, including members of Al Qaeda. Secretly, and without fingerprints, he could provide one of his hidden weapons to terrorists, or help them develop their own. Before September the 11th, many in the world believed that Saddam Hussein could be contained. But chemical agents, lethal viruses and shadowy terrorist networks are not easily contained. Imagine those 19 hijackers with other weapons and other plans—this time armed by Saddam Hussein. It would take one vial, one canister, one crate slipped into this country to bring a day of horror like none we have ever known.” (President Bush, State of the Union, 28 January 2003)
    • “Saddam Hussein has longstanding, direct and continuing ties to terrorist networks. Senior members of Iraqi intelligence and Al Qaeda have met at least eight times since the early 1990s. Iraq has sent bomb-making and document forgery experts to work with al Qaeda. Iraq has also provided Al Qaeda with chemical and biological weapons training. And an Al Qaeda operative was sent to Iraq several times in the late 1990s for help in acquiring poisons and gases. We also know that Iraq is harboring a terrorist network headed by a senior Al Qaeda terrorist planner. This network runs a poison and explosive training camp in northeast Iraq, and many of its leaders are known to be in Baghdad.” (President Bush, Radio Address, 8 February 2003) (Read More)

  • Proliferation Analysis March 16, 2006
    Exaggerating the Threat of Bioterrorism

    The threat of bioterrorism has been greatly exaggerated. There are fewer state bioweapons programs today than 15 years ago and to date, no state is known to have assisted any nonstate or terrorist group to obtain biological weapons.

  • Proliferation Analysis March 13, 2006
    Oh Canada!

    U.S. President George Bush last week struck a deal with India that directly violates the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, or NPT, as well as several major U.S. laws, setting off waves of criticism in the states and around the world. Canadian officials have not been part of that criticism. Instead, the nation that helped India build its first nuclear weapon may now help India build dozens more.

  • Op-Ed Asia Times March 3, 2006
    The US's Nuclear Cave-In
  • Proliferation Analysis March 2, 2006
    Nuclear Cave In

    Buffeted by political turmoil at home, President Bush sought a foreign affairs victory in India.  To clinch a nuclear weapons deal, the president had to give in to demands from the Indian nuclear lobby to exempt large portions of the country’s nuclear infrastructure from international inspection.  With details of the deal still under wraps, it appears that at least one-third of current and planned Indian reactors would be exempt from IAEA inspections and that the president gave into Indian demands for “Indian-specific” inspections that would fall far short of the normal, full-scope inspections originally sought. Worse, Indian officials have made clear that India alone will decide which future reactors will be kept in the military category and exempt from any safeguards.  


    The deal endorses and assists India’s nuclear weapons program.  US-supplied uranium fuel would free up India’s limited uranium reserves for fuel that would be burned in these reactors to make nuclear weapons.  This would allow India to increase its production from the estimated 6 to 10 additional nuclear bombs per year to several dozen per year.  India today has enough separated plutonium for 75 to 110 nuclear weapons, though it is not known how many it has actually produced.

    The Indian leaders and press are crowing about their victory over America.  For good reason:  President Bush has done what Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton and his own father refused to do--break U.S. and international law to aid India’s nuclear weapons program.  In 1974, India cheated on its agreements with the United States and other nations to do what Iran is accused of doing now:  using a peaceful nuclear energy program to build a nuclear bomb.  India used plutonium produced in a Canadian-supplied reactor to detonate a bomb it then called a “peaceful nuclear device.”  In response, President Richard Nixon and Congress stiffened U.S. laws and Nixon organized the Nuclear Suppliers Group to prevent any other nation from following India’s example.  President Bush has now unilaterally shattered those guidelines and his action would violate the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty proscription against aiding another nation’s nuclear weapons program.  It would require the repeal or revision of several major U.S. laws, including the U.S. Nonproliferation Act.  Nor has he won any significant concessions from India.  India refuses to agree to end its production of nuclear weapons material, something the U.S., the UK, France, Russia and China have already done.


    This is where the president is likely to run into trouble.  Republicans and Democrats in Congress are deeply concerned about the deal and the way it was crafted.  Keeping with the administration’s penchant for secrecy, the deal was cooked by a handful of senior officials (one of whom is now a lobbyist for the Indian government) and never reviewed by the Departments of State, Defense or Energy before it was announced with a champagne toast by President Bush and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.  Congress was never consulted.  Republican committee staff say the first members heard about it was when the fax announcing the deal came into their offices.  Worse, for the president, this appears to be another give away to a foreign government at the expense of U.S. national security interests. (Read More)

  • Proliferation Analysis February 14, 2006
    Pillar of Truth

    Paul Pillar’s new Foreign Affairs article--full of stunning insights and revelations--is required reading for all concerned with accountability for the misinformation provided to the American people before the war and with the wisdom of restructuring the intelligence agencies before a full investigation had been completed.


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