Skip to comments.CIA chief debriefs Dr Khan?
Posted on 02/26/2004 11:54:29 AM PST by Cap Huff
ISLAMABADA top US intelligence official interrogated Dr A. Q. Khan during his recent visit to Islamabad early this month to verify the authenticity of the information supplied by Pakistan to the US on nuclear proliferation, reliable sources told The Nation Tuesday. The US embassy neither denied nor confirmed the information, but Pakistani officials dismissed it summarily.
George Tenet, the CIA chief, had a debriefing session with Dr Khan on February 12 in Islamabad, sources said. The debriefing session was arranged following Bush administrations assertion to have a direct contact with Dr Khan.
Within 48 hours after the debriefing session Dr Khan went through, what a Pakistani spokesman termed routine, medical check-up on February 14 for cardiac stress. A US embassy spokesman neither denied nor confirmed the debriefing session between Khan and Tenet. I cannot confirm this information, the spokesman said when approached by phone for his comments. Asked specifically if he would deny that Tenet had interviewed Khan he said he would not confirm.
Unlike US embassy spokesman, Shaukat Sultan, the Director General of the Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) was quick to deny this report. Absurd, Sultan curtly said when contacted to seek his side of the story.
Saying there is nothing of this sort (meeting between Khan and Tenet) Sultan said the cooperation about investigation into nuclear proliferation was at the government-to-government level. He said Pakistan was providing information only to International Atomic Energy Agency.
However, the US embassy spokesman answering a question whether Islamabad was cooperating well to meet the expectations of Washington said consultations, meetings and dialogues were going on. This is an ongoing process, he said.
Asked if the investigations into worldwide nuclear proliferation had come to a conclusion, he said: Its far from over. Everyone is continuing to learn more.
Well-placed diplomatic sources confirmed to The Nation that Musharraf regime had turned over tons of information acquired from the scientists to the United States. It will take several months to go through the results of the investigations and the contents of the statements given by Dr Khan, and his Pakistani and foreign associates, sources said.
The data and documents were made available to the CIA officials to allay US apprehensions that Islamabad might not be telling the whole truth. The US wanted to double-check the information provided by Pakistan, diplomatic sources said. In addition to answering CIA chiefs questions this month, Dr Khan was also quizzed by a few more US officials in earlier sessions as well.
General Musharraf had announced pardon for Dr Khan on February 5 proclaiming that he would stand between the Dr Khan and the international community. Two days later, February 7, US Secretary of State made a telephone call to Musharraf. On February 9, the Foreign Office issued statement saying Dr Khan was not given a blanket pardon.
The FO spokesman said the pardon was granted for what Dr Khan had confessed meaning if there was information about Dr Khans involvement in anymore proliferation activity, the pardon would be withdrawn.
The US officials are sifting through the statements and information supplied by Islamabad to establish whether Khan had provided nuclear technology only to Iran, Libya, and North Korea or there are other countries too, sources claimed.
The US investigation team, it was learnt, was trying to locate a link between Dubai-based firms, being accused of trading nuclear equipment, and front companies set up by Saddam Hussain and one Asian country to acquire centrifuges.
Dismissing the common perception in Pakistan that the whole affair was timed to force Islamabad rollback its nuclear programme, the diplomatic sources said, The American objective is have complete information about the so-called underworld of nuclear proliferators and uproot their network once for all.
The sources claimed that the US was most concerned about the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and the information from Pakistan would help improve the existing system that failed to stop nuclear proliferation.
I treat all news sources with varying degrees of salt. Some very little, and some with nothing but salt. In this case I posted the information with a "FWIW" to indicate my inability to evaluate the degree of credibility to ascribe. We do have good reason to believe that Tenet made a visit to Pakistan on 11/12 February shortly after the Khan story broke, and shortly before the push against terrorists started along the Afghanistan/Pakistan border. Some of us have been speculating about the "agenda" of the visit, and this story may (or may not) have some details.
Correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't think the Pakistani The Nation is in quite the same class as Debka.
That's what I was thinking of too. Unfortunate name.
A.Q. Khan quizzed by US investigators
Tribune News Service
New Delhi, February 26
Pakistans fallen hero Dr A.Q. Khan has been intensively questioned by US investigation team in Islamabad since February 5.
Diplomatic sources here said the US investigators quizzed the pardoned nuclear scientist to find out whether the Pakistan Government was telling them the truth or not.
There are reports that Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) chief George Tenet, who recently visited Pakistan, met Dr Khan in Islamabad on February 12 to check the veracity of information passed on to the US State Department regarding transfer of nuclear technology by Pakistan to Iran, Libya and North Korea.
The US investigators were also trying to find out the role of Dubai-based firms, which were set up by Mr Saddam Hussein to acquire centrifuges.
There are reports that the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation had been trying to establish Pakistans links with Iran, Libya and North Korean after the CIA had tracked down a Pakistani aircraft C-130 that landed in a North Korean airfield in July 2002. The aircraft had carried a set of ballistic missile parts.
I've asked before whether there was any link between Khan and Saddam, and so far I've seen nothing. Interesting if true, but I'd say that India has their own irons in this fire.
While I'm sure American/Paki joint operation to defeat al-Qa'ida and capture OBL was on the menu, too, I've always thought that Tenet's February 12th meeting had to involve far more substantive matters, like those surrounding the Kahn debacle and Middle Eastern nuclear proliferation.
What I believe to be at the core of Tenet's concerns, are the details surrounding how Pakistan fronted the Saudi Arabian nuclear weapons development program. The information about Kahn's aid to the Iran nuclear program, while useful, is more of a "dog bites man" story.
You really hit the nail on the head with that comment!
France had a big hand in getting Pakistan started with their nuclear project. Supposedly they terminated that relationship, but A.Q. Kahn named France as one of his sources for technology and equipment.
Dominique (now isn't that sweet?) is going there to (1.) harsh our relationship with Pakistan and (2.) to try to get Kahn to shut-up about France's part in the nuclear proliferation scandal.
France's foreign policy seems entirely reactionary and based solely on thwarting anything the U.S. supports. I think that kind of obsessive-neurotic behavior is adequately detailed in the DSM-IV manual of psychiatric disorders. But it is fun to watch!
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