Hopes to Find Others Responsible for Leaking
February 6, 2004
The State Department said that uncovering others in Pakistan who were
responsible for leaking nuclear technology is more important than punishing
the country's top nuclear scientist for his role in the scandal.
Pakistan's president has pardoned the scientist, Abdul Qadeer Khan, who
had admitted his participation in providing sensitive technology to Libya,
Iran and North Korea.
A department official, speaking on condition of anonymity, compared the
pardon to a plea bargain, saying it was intended to encourage Khan to
expose other-still-at-large members of the worldwide nuclear black market.
The United States expressed no reservations about President Musharraf's
decision, saying it was an internal matter.
State Department spokesman
Richard Boucher credited Pakistani authorities with pursuing the investigation
seriously ever since Iranian officials told U.N. nuclear experts more
than two months ago about the leakage of secrets.
"We think that Pakistan is taking serious efforts to end the activities
of a dangerous network," he said. "It's up to the government
of Pakistan to take the necessary measures to ensure that this kind of
proliferation will not happen again."
CIA Director George
Tenet said that Khan's network "was shaving years off the nuclear
weapons development timelines of several states, including Libya"
and "offering its wares to countries like North Korea and Iran."
Atomic Energy Agency, the U.N. nuclear watchdog, gave Pakistan information
that Pakistani technology had been found in Iran and Libya.
In the case of North
Korea, however, Khan is believed to have begun providing sensitive technology
only well after the country had developed the capability to produce plutonium-based