James Forsyth

Pakistan: The greatest danger is nuclear insider trading

Pakistan: The greatest danger is nuclear insider trading
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The New York Times has an excellent symposium up on Pakistan’s nuclear weapons. This point from Rolf Mowatt-Larssen, a former CIA officer who headed up the office of Intelligence and Counterintelligence at the Department of Energy under President Bush, is particularly concerning:  

“Twice since the 9/11 attacks, the U.S. taken action to break up networks inside Pakistan’s nuclear establishment who were collaborating with outsiders in efforts to help them build bombs. In both cases, rogue senior officials and their cohorts in the nuclear establishment were not caught by Pakistan’s military, security and intelligence establishment.

The network run by the father of the Pakistani bomb, Abdul Qadeer Khan, channeled sensitive nuclear technologies to Libya, North Korea and Iran for years under the noses of the Pakistani establishment, before it was taken down in 2003.

The second case involved the Umma-Tameer-E-Nau, which was founded by Pakistani nuclear scientists with close ties to Al Qaeda and the Taliban. It was headed by Bashiruddin Mahmood, a retired senior Pakistan Atomic Energy Agency official who had headed Pakistan’s Khushab Atomic Reactor. He discussed Al Qaeda’s nuclear aspirations with Osama bin Laden.

In assuring the security of nuclear weapons in Pakistan, we should remind ourselves that the insider threat is the key wild card. The record is troubling, especially when one considers the probable outcome had the U.S. not intervened as it did to neutralize threats as they became known. The next time a nuclear threat emerges, will Pakistani authorities catch it in time?” The dangers that the nuclear weapons of a supposedly friendly state pose, should remind us all why we should be so keen to prevent nuclear proliferation. If Pakistan's nukes are this concerning, how much more worrying would a nuclear Iran be?

Written byJames Forsyth

James Forsyth is Political Editor of the Spectator. He is also a columnist in The Sun.

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