Compromised Nuclear Files
Washington Post recently reported that an international smuggling ring might have
secretly shared blueprints for an advanced nuclear weapon with Iran, North Korea
and other rogue countries.
The now-defunct ring led by Pakistani scientist
Abdul Qadeer Khan (widely regarded as the founder of Pakistan's nuclear program).
Khan earlier has admitted to having been involved in a clandestine international
network of nuclear weapons technology proliferation from Pakistan to Libya, Iran
and North Korea. But now, denies involvement with the spread of nuclear arms to
A draft report by former top U.N. arms inspector David Albright says the smugglers
also acquired designs for building a more sophisticated compact nuclear device
that could be fitted on a ballistic missile used by Iran and other developing
countries, the Post reported.
The drawings were discovered in 2006 on computers
owned by Swiss businessmen; they were recently destroyed by the Swiss government
under the supervision of the U.N. nuclear watchdog agency to keep then out of
terrorists' hands. But U.N. officials said they couldn't rule out that the material
already had been shared.
"These advanced nuclear weapons designs may
have long ago been sold off to some of the most treacherous regimes in the world,"
Albright wrote in the draft report, which was expected to be published later this
week, The Post reported.
A spokesman for the Pakistani Embassy in Washington,
Nadeen Kiani, did not rebut the report's findings. "The government of Pakistan
has adequately investigated allegations of nuclear proliferation by A.Q. Khan
and shared the information with" the U.N.'s International Atomic Energy Agency,
Kiani told the Post. "It considers the A.Q. Khan affair to be over."
national security adviser Stephen Hadley said he had not read accounts of the
Albright report, "But obviously we're very concerned about the A.Q. Khan
network, both in terms of what they were doing by purveying enrichment technology
and also the possibility that there would be weapons-related technology associated
A senior diplomat said the IAEA had knowledge of the existence
of a sophisticated nuclear weapons design being peddled electronically by the
black-market ring as far back as 2005. The diplomat spoke on condition of anonymity.