Critical Podium Dewanand Islam
U.S. Knew of Pakistan Nuclear Dealings for at
Least Seven Years
Sacrificer Brian Ross
Sacrifice code wfor0193
Sacrifice date march 2004
Black Market Nuke Trade
U.S. Knew of Pakistan Nuclear Dealings for at Least Seven Years
By Brian Ross
March 4 - The United States had knowledge of a network of black
market nuclear proliferation from Pakistan to countries accused of
supporting terrorists for at least seven years before it was
publicly exposed, ABCNEWS has learned.
What U.S., British and U.N. investigators found was that a company
in Pakistan was prepared to sell everything needed to make a nuclear
bomb - plans, equipment and fuel - for $50 million, with no
questions asked about how it might be used.
The one-stop nuclear package was even advertised at a Pakistani arms
show in 2000, where the company handed out brochures to visitors,
including a reporter for Jane's Defense Weekly.
"[The company] gave out two very glossy brochures, inside of which
they promised to provide all of the components needed for a uranium-
enrichment facility," reporter Andrew Koch said.
Behind it all: the now-infamous Abdul Qadeer Khan, the father of
Pakistan's nuclear program, who confessed last month to selling
nuclear secrets to Iran, North Korea and Libya. Investigators say he
made millions running the operation.
"I think that now we have to confront the reality that there's a
nuclear black market, a Wal-Mart, in effect, of nuclear smuggling
and it covers four continents, a dozen countries, lots of inventive
behavior," said Graham Allison, director of Harvard University's
Center for Science and International Affairs.
Officials say it was a far-flung operation. A factory in Malaysia
was set up to make the high-speed gas centrifuge parts that are used
to produce weapons-grade uranium. The son of Malaysia's prime
minister was one of the factory's owners.
"I did not talk with him on this subject. It is entirely my son's
business," said Malaysian Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmed Badawi.
Network Extended to Europe
The black market's trail stretched all the way to Europe. U.S.
officials say a key to the black market was a small, family-run
company in the Swiss canton of St. Gallen.
It was there, officials say, that Swiss engineers helped to design
14 key parts of the centrifuge sent to Libya to produce the bomb's
fuel, enriched uranium.
Investigators say Urs Tinner, one of the engineers, took the designs
to the Malaysian factory and supervised manufacturing.
Tinner, who admits his father has been connected to Kahn for more
than a decade, said he had no idea the work he did was connected to
the nuclear black market.
"We make parts like, let's say, every other company in Switzerland,"
he told ABCNEWS. "Mechanical shops. It is always the same."
But U.S. officials say Tinner's operation was a lot more than just
another Swiss machine shop.
"He was the key sparkplug to make sure that these 14 types of
centrifuge components were made and then delivered. And then [he
would] clean up the operation, take out all the centrifuge
drawings," said David Albright, president of the Institute for
Science and International Security in Washington, D.C.
U.S. Knew for at Least Seven Years
It turns out that the United States has known about Khan's nuclear
dealings for at least seven years.
Documents obtained by ABCNEWS show the U.S. had enough evidence in
1997 to put his company, Khan Research Laboratory, on a kind of U.S.
blacklist for suspected illegal activity. The U.S. Commerce
Department barred American companies from selling Khan's company any
materials that might have nuclear or military applications.
The special restrictions raises the question now of how, since that
time, Kahn was able to make nuclear deals with Libya and Iran
without U.S. detection.
And Kahn's scientists, according to investigators, were also able to
meet with Osama bin Laden without being detected by the United
Whatever the United States knew about Kahn, it clearly did not
aggressively pursue him through both the Clinton and the Bush
Secretary of State Colin Powell said today: "I think we're learning
a great deal more about the network, and we're tracing the network
to all of [Khan's] various customers and all of the different parts
of the network infrastructure. I think we have pretty much taken
apart the network in the sense that it isn't going to be doing that
much in the future, and we're going to work to pull up everything we
know about it from the past."
But Albright considers it to be a big intelligence failure.
"I mean, if the intelligence community is charged with finding out
this kind of information, then the United States intelligence
failed," he said.
Critical Podium Dewanand Islam
All rights reserved.