Dead-Horse Flogging, Department of

US Special Representative for Nuclear Nonproliferation Chris Ford:

bq. There have been more PSI successes than one can discuss publicly, but we should remember that *it was a PSI interdiction, of a shipment of illicit centrifuge equipment bound for Libya in October 2003 that began the unraveling of the dangerous and infamous A.Q. Khan nuclear proliferation network and helped catalyze Libya’s decision two months later to renounce the pursuit of WMD* and dismantle its WMD programs.


John Wolf, who served as assistant secretary of state for nonproliferation from 2001 to 2004, told _Arms Control Today_ May 25 that the BBC China operation was “separate” from PSI. He said the incident stemmed from previous efforts to track and uncover the Khan network.

A foreign official familiar with the operation corroborated Wolf’s version of the event. “The BBC China operation was carried out in the spirit of PSI, but it was not a PSI operation,” the official informed _Arms Control Today_ May 31.

Previous dead-horse abuse “here.”:

Insert dolphin-flogging joke here.

3 thoughts on “Dead-Horse Flogging, Department of

  1. Andy

    Forgive me, but what is the practical difference between an operation in the “spirit” of PSI and one that’s part of PSI itself?

  2. Robot Economist

    Andy – The interdiction of the BBC China occured before PSI existed. The ‘spiritual’ connection comes from the fact that PSI is patterned off of the incident.

    The State Department is just covering up for the fact that PSI is not what John Bolton trumped it up to be. He wanted regularly exercises and very high profile interdictions as a deterrent. It looks like PSI has evolved into a “In Case of Emergency, Break Glass” arrangement that is hardly used — if at all.

    Normally I would discourage patterning policy off of one-in-a-million situations (like the assassination of Abu Ali Harithi using phone taps and a Hellfire-armed Predator drone), but PSI is such a low cost mechanism that keeping it probably a good idea.

  3. CKR

    Seems to me that successes in PSI could be a great plus for an administration that badly needs some good press.

    So we may conclude either that: there are no PSI successes to tout, OR the administration prizes secrecy above good press.

    Seems to me that either is possible.

    There is also a deterrent value in PSI that can never be measured. Can’t see what people aren’t doing because they’re concerned they might be caught. But, like airport security, we need to balance the costs against these unmeasurable benefits.


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