The New York Times reveals that the CIA’s latest report on the extent of Pakistan’s nuclear support to North Korea reveals the hand of the Pakistani military establishment. But the United States does not want to admit this publicly – or even to its closest allies like Japan. Hiding the Pakistani military’s role in nuclear proliferation is not only foolish, but also a monumental disservice to the Pakistani nation. Musharraf has always blamed the civilian politicians for ‘loot and plunder’ and used this to justify their forced exile. Is’nt it time the military leaders were called to account for their past actions? If Musharraf is so indispensable why not pardon him after his confession?
The United States, in turn, is declining to disclose some details of its new assessment to some of its closest allies, including Japan, which has asked Pakistan to give it a separate set of briefings about Mr. Khan’s confession.
The unusual American reluctance to share its full intelligence findings has led several senior Asian officials, in interviews in recent weeks, to speculate that the assessment is particularly sensitive because the lengthy timeline of transfers it describes inevitably leads to the conclusion that the Pakistani military was a major partner with Mr. Khan.
The evidence suggests that North Korean scientists worked at the Khan Laboratories in the late 1990’s, ostensibly on missile technology, and that several of the critical shipments to Pyongyang, the North Korean capital, took place on Pakistani military cargo planes.
According to two officials with access to the intelligence at the time, American spy satellites repeatedly took photographs of Pakistani cargo planes on the tarmac at an airfield in Pyongyang. At the time, many officials believed the cargo planes were picking up parts for North Korean missiles; it was unclear whether they were also unloading material intended for North Korea.
But even then, one of the officials said, “we suspected there was a quid pro quo, and there was a lot of speculation on the nuclear side. But there was no evidence.”[NYT]