Skip to comments.Equipment stolen from Pakistan's nuclear weapons lab went to Iran, North Korea, Libya and Malaysia
Posted on 02/03/2004 1:29:17 AM PST by HAL9000
Sources: Equipment stolen from Pakistan's nuclear weapons lab went to Iran, North Korea, Libya and Malaysia
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (AP) -- The father of Pakistan's nuclear program smuggled out high-tech centrifuges used to enrich uranium for nuclear weapons and other equipment to Iran, Libya, North Korea and Malaysia through an international black market network, officials said Tuesday.
"In some cases, chartered planes were used to smuggle out centrifuge machines and other sophisticated equipment to these countries," a senior government official told The Associated Press.
The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said two "individuals" from Sri Lanka and Germany operated on behalf of Abdul Qadeer Khan, Pakistan's top nuclear scientist who was the head of the country's nuclear program at the time.
"This practice began in the 1980s and continued at least until 1997," the official said.
Khan, who gave Pakistan the Islamic world's first nuclear bomb, was removed Sunday from his post as scientific adviser to the prime minister after he confessed to investigators that he had leaked nuclear secrets to other countries.
Khan's admission has shocked many in Pakistan, but also raised questions about how Khan could have spread nuclear technology without consent of the military - which has often ruled Pakistan since the country gained independence from Britain in 1947.
Pakistan began its probe into allegations of nuclear proliferation in November after Iran and Libya gave information to the U.N. nuclear watchdog.
So far, investigators have questioned two former heads of the army, scientists, engineers and security officials to determine whether they knew about the leak of nuclear technology to other countries.
The two retired army generals, Jehangir Karamat and Mirza Aslam Beg, have told investigators they didn't authorize nuclear transfers.
Authorities are focusing on seven suspects - three scientists including Khan and four former security officials at Khan Research Laboratories, or KRL, a nuclear weapons facility named after Khan.
Investigators told Pakistani journalists Sunday that Khan didn't sell nuclear technology for personal gain.
But two intelligence officials said Tuesday that money was a motivation.
"Definitely money was involved in this game," a senior intelligence official involved in the probe said on condition of anonymity.
"For us, it was shocking that KRL's equipment was moved out of Pakistan, and we knew nothing," another official said on condition of anonymity. "It was a misuse of authority, a breach of confidence and nothing else."
He said Khan "gave access to scientists and engineers from Iran and North Korea to our nuclear facilities" and also had met them outside the lab.
A close aide to Khan - Mohammed Farooq, who has been detained in the probe - was sent to Iran to help their scientists and also was a key figure in the international nuclear black market, the official said.
Sure...Islamists don't lie. I'm sure Musshy knew nothing...his wife was in D.C. buying a house in Georgetown...wonder where the money came from?
Intelligence?? This shows you both side of the coin. How did this nuclear stuff get missed?
This is a mess, and I don't think an intell panel isn't going to do much. We need more spies, not more commissions.
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