JAEC on PRC Nuclear Weapons, 1967

This 1967 report from the Joint Commission on Atomic Energy, titled Impact of Chinese Communist Nuclear Weapons Progress on United States National Security, makes for interesting reading, particularly this section comparing the French and Chinese nuclear weapons programs:

I suspect that this summary paragraph was meant to draw the most attention:

T Fingar on Intellipedia

This 2008 speech by Thomas Fingar is pretty informative,. For example, there’s his description of Intellipedia in response to a question from the moderator.

Intellipedia is a classified version of Wikipedia that we started up about two and a half years ago. And part of it was sort of responding to the way our younger workforce lives in the digital realm.

<snip>

We want people to have the equivalent of an eBay reputation.

These references by the moderator were current at the time:

That concept of reputation – one can spin that out a little bit. The Intelligence Community version of Friendster or MySpace or whatever where the more friends you have, the better you are thought of.

Anachronisms are funny.

M Maloof on Iraq WMD Intel

Michael Maloof, former Policy Counterterrorism Evaluation Group official during the GW Bush administration, explained during this interview published in 2006 that the 2002 case for Iraqi WMD possession was, in his opinion, weak:

The argument for WMD, however, all of a sudden began to emerge. Some of us who had been following Iraq for years, particularly on the export control side, thought, well, that’s not the best argument. … In fact, I had sent a memo saying this was not our strongest argument. Simply because you had inspectors going in and out, we would see elements going in, because we were watching the transfer and the diversion of technologies — we knew they were going through front companies and countries in Africa. They were going to be building it back up and saving it, holding it, until which time the sanctions could be lifted. Then they’re going to go back into production, into their nuclear production, into their chemical/biological and missile productions. … But never did they have a program constituted and operational that we could determine.

U.S. Intelligence on Pakistan’s Nuclear Weapons

This interview with Ronald Spiers, former U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan contains.a bit on U.S. intelligence during the early 1980s on Pakistan’s nuclear weapons program. Asked “What was your evaluation of our intelligence on the Pakistani nuclear developments?,” Spiers replied as follows:

It was rudimentary; most of the information came from clandestine sources developed by the Embassy. But I must add that I didn’t know how much there was to know. It was very clear that there was a group in Pakistan that was working towards the development of a nuclear capability. We didn’t know how far it had advanced. We knew that they were not reprocessing plutonium at that point. We knew they were obtaining some technical assistance from the PRC—that was common knowledge in Islamabad. There was an installation near Islamabad which was off limits to everybody. Once, the French Ambassador had a picnic near this area and was jumped upon and brutally beaten up. It was clear to me that the Foreign Office, including the Foreign Minister—Jacub Khan — who by the way was one of the most competent people I had ever met, didn’t know anything about what was going on the nuclear field. It was not clear to me that even Zia’s principal nuclear advisor, Munir Khan, was fully cognizant of developments. The little group of nuclear experts was headed by A.Q. Khan, whom I never met because he lived in the south some place and was kept under-cover. Khan had worked once upon a time for EURENCO (European Uranium Enrichment Company) and had allegedly stolen or
had copied enrichment machinery plans. That was some evidence here and there of small procurement efforts which by themselves appeared innocent enough, but that if taken as a whole appeared to be part of a larger pattern. Once plans for a nuclear device had been purloined, the evidence became very strongly suggestive that the Pakistanis were embarked on the development of a weapons program. I am sure that Zia was well aware of what was going on.

CD Disagreements and Sketchy Technology

During a September meeting of the Conference on Disarmament, Iran blocked observer status for several countries. When it came to Yemen’s status, there were technical difficulties. To wit:

The President: We will now decide on the request from Yemen. May I take it that the Conference on Disarmament decides, in accordance with its rules of procedure, to accept this request to participate in its work?

It was so decided.


The President: I welcome these non-member States to the session of the Conference on Disarmament.

Iranian Ambassador Azadi then reiterated an objection that no one had noticed.:

Mr. Azadi (Islamic Republic of Iran): Thank you, Mr. President. I wonder whether you were able to hear my previous interventions. I requested that the list of the new requests be considered one by one, as has been the practice in the past.

The President: Yes, we heard that statement, and that is what we did. We first took Singapore – there were no objections – and then we took Yemen, and again there were no objections.

It seems that you were not able to follow that. Can you confirm?

After explaining Iran’s view concerning Yemen’s participation, the ambassador concluded that “My delegation is not in a position to endorse this request.” But the CD President faced a dilemma:

Well, I have a problem now, because we have already adopted the decision. I gavelled the request from Yemen. I asked whether there were any objections, and I paused quite a long time, because I was indeed expecting some reaction from the Islamic Republic of Iran, but there was not one.


I understand you are having technical problems and probably did not hear my question, so this is a bit of a difficult situation, but I think everyone understands that there are technical difficulties. I would thus ask for everybody’s understanding and suggest that we go back to this request from Yemen. I will ask again whether the Conference on Disarmament decides to accept these requests to participate in our work in accordance with the rules of procedure.

Bottom line: Iran objected again and Yemen din’t get observer status.