Peter Hounam met Moroccan-born Israeli Mordechai Vanunu in Australia to hear his claims that he was a technician who knew devastating details of Israel’s extensive and top-secret nuclear weapons programme.
After a 12-day debrief he was flown back to London. The Sunday Times was particularly anxious not to have a repeat of the Hitler Diaries hoax of three years earlier so spent some weeks verifying Vanunu’s information with nuclear scientists.
Vanunu was moved around by The Sunday Times to different hotels – and it was after moving him to a hotel in central London that he fell under the influence of an attractive Mossad agent who lured him to Rome where he was arrested.
Vanunu was eventually released in 2004 when Hounam travelled to Israel to be one of the first to embrace him.