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Thread: U.S. Lied To Allies About Nuclear Export

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2005

    U.S. Lied To Allies About Nuclear Export

    U.S. misled allies about nuclear export
    N. Korean material landed in Pakistan, instead of Libya

    By Dafna Linzer
    Updated: 12:41 a.m. ET March 20, 2005

    In an effort to increase pressure on North Korea, the Bush administration told its Asian allies in briefings earlier this year that Pyongyang had exported nuclear material to Libya. That was a significant new charge, the first allegation that North Korea was helping to create a new nuclear weapons state.

    But that is not what U.S. intelligence reported, according to two officials with detailed knowledge of the transaction. North Korea, according to the intelligence, had supplied uranium hexafluoride -- which can be enriched to weapons-grade uranium -- to Pakistan. It was Pakistan, a key U.S. ally with its own nuclear arsenal, that sold the material to Libya. The U.S. government had no evidence, the officials said, that North Korea knew of the second transaction.

    Key details omitted
    Pakistan's role as both the buyer and the seller was concealed to cover up the part played by Washington's partner in the hunt for al Qaeda leaders, according to the officials, who discussed the issue on the condition of anonymity. In addition, a North Korea-Pakistan transfer would not have been news to the U.S. allies, which have known of such transfers for years and viewed them as a business matter between sovereign states.

    The Bush administration's approach, intended to isolate North Korea, instead left allies increasingly doubtful as they began to learn that the briefings omitted essential details about the transaction, U.S. officials and foreign diplomats said in interviews. North Korea responded to public reports last month about the briefings by withdrawing from talks with its neighbors and the United States.

    In an effort to repair the damage, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is traveling through East Asia this weekend trying to get the six-nation talks back on track. The impasse was expected to dominate talks today in Seoul and then Beijing, which wields the greatest influence with North Korea.

    The new details follow a string of controversies concerning the Bush administration's use of intelligence on weapons of mass destruction. In the run-up to the Iraq invasion in March 2003, the White House offered a public case against Iraq that concealed dissent on nearly every element of intelligence and included interpretations unsupported by the evidence.

    A presidential commission studying U.S. intelligence is reviewing the case, as well as judgments on Iran and North Korea. The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence also is reviewing evidence on nuclear, chemical and biological programs suspected in Iran and North Korea.

    Allies, press briefed
    The United States briefed allies on North Korea in late January and early February. Shortly afterward, administration officials, speaking to The Washington Post on the condition of anonymity, said North Korea had sold uranium hexafluoride to Libya. The officials said the briefing was arranged to share the information with China, South Korea and Japan ahead of a new round of hoped-for negotiations on North Korea's nuclear program.

    But in recent days, two other U.S. officials said the briefings were hastily arranged after China and South Korea indicated they were considering bolting from six-party talks on North Korea. The talks have been seen as largely ineffectual, but the Bush administration, which refuses to meet bilaterally with Pyongyang, insists they are critical to curbing North Korea's nuclear program.

    The White House declined to offer an official to comment by name about the new details concerning Pakistan. A prepared response attributed to a senior administration official said that the U.S. government "has provided allies with an accurate account of North Korea's nuclear proliferation activities."

    Although the briefings did not mention Pakistan by name, the official said they made it clear that the sale went through the illicit network operated by Pakistan's top nuclear scientist, Abdel Qadeer Khan. But the briefings gave no indication that U.S. intelligence believes that the material had been bought by Pakistan and transferred there from North Korea in a container owned by the Pakistani government.

    Ally not held accountable
    They also gave no indication that the uranium was then shipped via a Pakistani company to Dubai in the United Arab Emirates and on to Libya. Those findings match assessments by the International Atomic Energy Agency, which is investigating Libya separately. Libya gave up its nuclear weapons program in December 2003.

    Since Pakistan became a key U.S. ally in the hunt for al Qaeda leaders, the administration has not held President Pervez Musharraf accountable for actions taken by Khan while he was a member of Musharraf's cabinet and in charge of nuclear cooperation for the government.

    "The administration is giving Pakistan a free ride when they don't deserve it and hurting U.S. interests at the same time," said Charles L. Pritchard, who was the Bush administration's special envoy for the North Korea talks until August 2003.

    "As our allies get the full picture, it doesn't help our credibility with them," he said.

    Pritchard, now a Brookings Institution fellow, and others had initially raised questions about the Libya connection when it became public last month. No one in the administration has been willing to discuss the uranium sale publicly.

    In testimony to Congress last month, CIA Director Porter J. Goss spoke extensively about North Korea's nuclear arsenal and capabilities. But he gave no indication the intelligence community believed that North Korea had supplied nuclear materials to Libya, that it was capable of producing uranium hexafluoride or that it was a member of the nuclear black market.

    Focus on N. Korea
    Two years ago, U.S. officials told allies that North Korea was trying to assemble an enrichment facility that would turn uranium hexafluoride to bomb-grade material.

    But China and South Korea, in particular, have been skeptical of those assertions and are becoming increasingly wary of pressuring North Korea.

    The National Security Council briefings in late January and early February, by senior NSC officials Michael J. Green and William Tobey, were intended to do just that by keeping the spotlight solely on North Korea.

    Pakistan was mentioned only once in the briefing paper, and in a context that emphasized Pyongyang's guilt. "Pakistani press reports have said the uranium came from North Korea," according to the briefing paper, which was read to The Post.

    After initial press reports about the briefing appeared last month, Pyongyang announced that it possessed nuclear weapons and would not return to the six-party talks.

    Pritchard said North Korea's reaction was "absolutely linked" to the Green-Tobey trip.

    The United States tried to persuade North Korea to return to the talks, but without success. The North Korean leadership responded with a list of conditions, including a demand that Rice apologize for calling it an "outpost of tyranny."

    During the first stop on her Asian tour, Rice used noticeably softer language on North Korea, telling a Tokyo audience that the U.S. offer was open to negotiation, and that North Korean leader Kim Jong Il should grab the opportunity.

    Staff writer Glenn Kessler contributed to this report from Seoul.
    © 2005 The Washington Post Company
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    So why would the United States be interested in protecting Pakistan? Could it be that they're our "Partners In Crime" in the Middle East? Pakistani ISI and CIA are almost one and the same. Things that make you go hmmmm...
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG

  3. #3
    danceyogamom Guest

    along the same lines ...

    Quote Originally Posted by Gold9472
    So why would the United States be interested in protecting Pakistan? Could it be that they're our "Partners In Crime" in the Middle East? Pakistani ISI and CIA are almost one and the same. Things that make you go hmmmm...

    WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Senior U.S. officials said Friday that a deal to sell F-16 fighter jets to Pakistan was approved and the United States will compete for contracts to provide Pakistan's nuclear rival India with the same jets.

    President Bush called Indian Prime Minister Monmohan Singh to tell him the decision to go ahead with the sale to Pakistan, the officials announced. India has balked at the sale.

    India and Pakistan have been at odds for decades over ownership of the region of Kashmir.

    The United States had banned weapons sales to both India and Pakistan in the 1990s because each had tested nuclear weapons. One official said that the United States has had to adapt to the reality that both countries have a nuclear capability.

    "The U.S. has to live in the world that exists, not the world we wish" exists, the official said. He added that the United States is trying to create a "positive force" and defuse tensions in a potentially dangerous region.

    U.S. officials said the sale to Pakistan is the result of the deepening relationship with that country. The improved relations, they said, came about because of President Pervez Musharraf 's actions since the September 11, 2001, attacks -- assisting with the hunt for Osama bin Laden, cooperating with the investigation into the weapons network of Pakistani scientist A.Q. Khan and agreeing to elections in 2007.

    Last year, the Bush administration declared Pakistan a non-NATO ally and this year, the United States started a five-year aid package to Pakistan worth $3 billion.

    Crucial region in terror war

    The sale to both countries is part of a new U.S. strategy for South Asia, a region the United States sees as vital to U.S. national security interests and crucial to the war on terror.

    A senior administration official said that the Bush administration will continue to broaden its relationship with India. Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice, in India last week, told Prime Minister Singh that the United States will help India become a major world power in the 21st century.

    The official said that United States will allow U.S. companies to bid for contracts to provide F-16 fighter jets to India and additional defense technology, such as command and control and early warning systems.

    The United States will also beef up its economic, energy and trade ties with India, the official said.

    Indian Prime Minister Singh has already accepted an invitation from Bush to visit the White House in July, and the president plans to visit India sometime within the next year, an official said.

    Officials said they do not see the sale to either country as tilting the military balance between India and Pakistan. Although officials would not talk specific numbers for the sales, India is shopping for 125 aircraft. Pakistan has had a long-standing request for 25.

    However, these officials said, the sale could increase Pakistan's security with India at a time of improved relations between the two countries.

    "It is important for the Pakistani government feel secure," one official said. "It is in India's interest that Pakistan feel secure."

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