Now for some history.
The House of Representatives, Committee on International Relations (now the House Committee on Foreign Affairs as of the 110th Congress), of the 109th Congress held a hearing on Thursday, May 25, 2006, entitled THE A.Q. KHAN NETWORK: CASE CLOSED? The Chairman of the Committee, the Hon. Edward R. Royce, was presiding. (I fixed a couple of typos.)
Mr. ROYCE. This hearing will come to order. The title of the hearing today is, "The A.Q. Khan Network: Is the case closed?" and that is what we want to explore, and that is why we have these witnesses here with us.
The A.Q. Khan network has been described as the "Wal-Mart of private sector proliferation for the world." Its handiwork has helped deliver to us two of the most threatening security challenges faced in the West, one is North Korea and the other is Iran.
"Its handiwork has helped deliver to us two of the most threatening security challenges faced in the West, one is North Korea and the other is Iran."
That's the two remaining members of the Axis of Evil -- the third was, of course, Hussein's Iraq.
A.Q. Khan, the so-called father of Pakistan's bomb, for over a decade ran a sophisticated and multinational clandestine network built around Pakistan's own nuclear weapons program, which provided advanced nuclear enrichment technology and expertise to a number of hostile countries, as well as to Libya, and perhaps others.
Khaddafy-duck may be "dethpicable", but he knows how to sniff the wind and change sides at an opportune moment.
In October 2003, Italian authorities seized sophisticated centrifuge components bound for Libya aboard the ship BBC China, forcing the Pakistan Government and President Musharraf to confront A.Q. Khan and to confront A.Q. Khan's cohorts publicly. This should have been done years earlier.
Khan's network has done incalculable and potentially catastrophic damage to international security. It has opened an era in which many states, including among the most unstable and most hostile to the U.S., can now expect to develop nuclear weapons. This is the grim legacy of A.Q. Khan.
Here we are going after these nations for developing weapons of mass destruction.
Iraq was invaded for that reason, although the evidence was disputed at the time, and has not since been found.
Iran is being threatened over this very issue.
North Korea is safe for the moment, in part because the Bush Administration is already tied up in Iraq and seems to have its sights on neighboring Iran anyway.
Perhaps more to the point, though, is that Pyongyang claims to already have nuclear weapons.
It is far less scary to invade a country that is claimed to be developing nuclear weapons than it is to invade a country that may already have them.
Bush can sniff the wind pretty well, too.
United States policy rightly attempts to work with and pressure the Pakistan Government on counterterrorism, proliferation and other concerns, but not to a destabilizing degree. The possibility of radical Islamists seizing control of Pakistan's Government and nuclear arsenal is a serious concern.
Four months after the BBC China was interdicted, Khan appeared on Pakistani television, and on that show he apologized. The following day, President Musharraf apparently felt compelled to call Khan a national hero. Or does he believe that? I wonder.
This month, Pakistan released Mohammad Farooq, who allegedly was responsible for coordinating the Khan network's foreign supply activities. He was the last of 12 or so detainees being held for their network involvement. There have been no Pakistani prosecutions of Khan's network members. Khan himself was pardoned by President Musharraf, and that sent a very unfortunate signal to would-be proliferators.
At the time of Farooq's release, the Pakistani Foreign Ministry announced in so many words that the Khan case was closed. It also said that Khan would remain off limits to foreign investigations, despite requests by the IAEA, the U.S. and others to interview him.
Pakistan receives some 700 million annually in United States aid. President Bush has designated Pakistan a major non-NATO ally. Given this support, the grave consequences of Khan's acts and his role in the Iranian military crisis of today, the United States and the international community should expect more from Pakistan's Government.
Khan claims to have acted without Pakistani Government support, yet former Pakistani President Zia spoke about acquiring and sharing nuclear technology, in his words, with the entire Islamic world. Khan advanced Zia's mission well. Some of Khan's exports were transported by Pakistani military aircraft. Many ask how can the network aggressively market its nuclear products, including the glossy brochures, without Pakistan's Government taking notice?
Either the Pakistani Government was complicit to some degree, or Khan was able to proliferate enrichment technology for years without attracting its attention. Both scenarios are deeply troubling. In light of what is now known about the Khan network, we should be gravely concerned about the security of Pakistan's nuclear arsenal. The idea that Pakistan should be offered the same civilian nuclear energy cooperation agreement being proposed for India is a non-starter.
"In light of what is now known about the Khan network, we should be gravely concerned about the security of Pakistan's nuclear arsenal."
Some question whether the A.Q. Khan network is truly out of business, asking if it is not merely hibernating. We would be foolish to rule out that chilling possibility. Vigilance and greater international pressure on Pakistan to air out the Khan network is in order, and that is what we intend to begin today.
I would like to turn to the Ranking Member of this Committee, Mr. Brad Sherman, for any opening statement he might have.
Mr. SHERMAN. Mr. Chairman, the purpose of Congress is to ask the questions the Administration doesn't want to answer, and the proof that we are fulfilling that duty is the fact that we are talking about A.Q. Khan and the Bush Administration hasn't sent anyone to these hearings. There is no greater proof that they would prefer that we simply say that the case has been closed.
Here is the guy who armed two of the three members of Bush's Axis of Evil.
Bush went to war because he claimed Iraq was developing nuclear weapons. Possibly the only reason why he hasn't invaded Iran is because Iraq hasn't gone as well as had been hoped.
Yet, Bush seems uninterested in the guy who helped provide the nuclear technology to his Axis of Evil -- the very nuclear technology he has gone to war over. He didn't even send a representative to Congress for hearings on this guy!
Pakistan warns against nuclear weapons grab by Staff Writers, Islamabad (AFP) Nov 12, 2007
Pakistan warned Monday it had sufficient "retaliatory capacity" to defend its nuclear weapons, after a report the United States had made contingency plans to stop them falling into the wrong hands. Denouncing "irresponsible conjecture," the foreign ministry said Pakistan was ready and able to defend its nuclear arsenal and there was no risk of the arms being taken.
Its reaction followed a Washington Post report that with Pakistan in the throes of a political crisis, the United States had drawn up contingency plans in case the Pakistani military risked losing control of the weapons.
"If there is any threat to our nuclear assets and sovereignty, we have the capacity to defend ourselves," foreign ministry spokesman Mohammad Sadiq told AFP.
A ministry statement went further, saying in response to the daily's report that "suffice it to say that Pakistan possesses adequate retaliatory capacity to defend its strategic assets and sovereignty."
Given the ongoing crisis in Pakistan, which, since the publishing of the article being quoted has heightened with the Bhutto assassination, Pakistan's position should be one of cooperating with the international community to ensure the security of the Pakistani nuclear arsenal.
Instead, the concern is about Pakistan's sovereignty, and protecting that sovereignty from possible US infringement.
The ministry strongly denied its weapons were at any risk. "Our strategic assets are as safe as that of any other nuclear weapons state," it said.
A number of US officials and lawmakers have voiced concern that President Pervez Musharraf's government could lose control over its nuclear arsenal amid the crisis triggered by his imposition of a state of emergency.
I wonder if the assassination today of opposition leader Benazir Bhutto makes everyone
comfortable about those nukes.
The Post cited several former US officials saying that the plans envision efforts to remove a nuclear weapon at imminent risk of falling into the hands of terrorists.
Of course, some terrorists already have nuclear weapons.
However it reported that US officials were worried their limited knowledge about the location of the arsenal could pose a problem.
That was laughed off by the Pakistani foreign ministry.
"If they cannot locate Pakistan's nuclear weapons despite their satellites, how can people sitting on a mountain know where they are," it said.
Ah, but there are non-Pakistani players who know exactly where Pakistan's nuclear weapons are.
Pakistan, a crucial Washington ally in the fight against Al-Qaeda and the Taliban, has amassed some 50 nuclear weapons since detonating its first atomic devices in May 1998.
There is no doubt that Pakistan is a crucial ally in the fight against Al Qaeda and the Taliban.
Now, if we only knew whose ally they are....
But, what terrorists have nuclear weapons?
And, who else besides the Pakistanis knows about Pakistan's nuclear weapons?
Ah, but this is a long post already -- stay tuned for Part 2, under a new label entitled Islamic Bomb!