Category Archives: networks

Pakistan MFA on Khan Release

Following up on Josh’s “post”: from the other day, I give you the two relevant statements from Pakistan’ Foreign Ministry. The “one from 6 February”: called AQK a “free man.”

Perhaps responding to some of the, um, somewhat negative reactions to that announcement, the Ministry said “the next day”: that Islamabad

bq. has dismantled the nuclear black market network and no individual associated with it enjoys any official status nor has access to any strategic facility.

I know how much you all like primary sources…

Khan Walks… Back?

News of the release of AQ Khan from house arrest may have been premature.

Days after the Foreign Ministry “called”: the Khan saga a “closed chapter,” _Dawn_ (of Karachi) “reports”: that the Pakistani government is weighing an appeal of his release.

The government appears to be backing out of an ill-considered deal with Khan, whose “terms”: have now reached the papers:

Under an agreement reached among Khan’s lawyers, the judge who ordered him released and the government, officials said, the Pakistani Interior Ministry will limit and monitor Khan’s telephone calls, visitors and activities. The ministry will also prohibit his travel outside the country.

Until now, these terms were a “secret”:, which allowed Khan to step before the news cameras to claim total vindication.

It’s hard to know what the good folks in Islamabad were thinking. Just the other week, President Zardari was “openly hitting up the U.S. for a new aid package”: Fine timing…

AQ Khan’s Site


That’s not a typo in the title. I just found the man’s “personal web site”: via “Die Weltwoche”:

ISIS Procurement Case Studies

The ISIS crew has clearly been busy. They just put out three case studies (which you can find “here”: on illicit procurement by Iran and Pakistan. They are timely, given the lack of public evidence about post-Khan network procurement.

GAO Report on PSI

The GAO just a released a “report”: with some hot PSI action. Essentially, it says that the administration has failed to implement past GAO recommendations regarding the initiative.

Based on a quick glance of the report, I think these two sentences sum up the critique pretty well:

bq. [N]one of the agencies [DoS,DoD, law enforcement agencies] has established performance indicators to measure the results of PSI activities. Consistent with internal controls, establishing clear PSI policies and procedures and indicators to measure results will help the agencies better organize their PSI activities.

WMD Financing Porn

The FATF put out something of a “primer”: on the subject a little while back for you to sink your teeth into. The case studies look interesting.

N Burns on Khan Network

During Mark Hibbs’ presentation at the Carnegie conference, he was asked about the status of the Khan network.

According to my “summary,”: he said:

bq. *The network is still operating, or at least something like it.* When asked by Joe if the proliferation networks out there are the same as the Khan network, *Hibbs pointed out that the network members disappear and reappear, change the companies’ names, etc.* Even if they’re convicted, business people can later go underground and restart their enterprises.

Anyway, Nick Burns supplied some more information about the network’s status during a 25 July hearing before the SFRC.

Senator Isakson asked about the network’s status:

bq. Do you have reason to believe that the remnants of that network of nuclear proliferation still exist?

To which Burns replied:

bq. That’s a very good question. *I cannot assert that no part of that network exists, but it’s my understanding based on our conversations with the Pakistanis that the network has been fundamentally dismantled.* But *to say that there are no elements in Pakistan, I’m not sure I could say that.*

Senator Casey also asked about the matter. Burns essentially said that we are, at least in large measure, relying on the Pakistanis to keep Khan in his box, so to speak:

bq. *we have made it a point to tell the Pakistani government it’s their responsibility to have fully dismantled the network and to keep it dismantled* — and any similar networks — their responsibility.

But he also acknowledged that

bq. as I understand it, *we haven’t had the type of personal, consistent access [to Khan] that otherwise might have been — would have been of interest to us.* But again, I don’t have all the details of everything we’ve done, and some of it may be better conveyed to you in classified form as well.

Casey also asked about the most recent US-Paksitani conversation about the matter:

CASEY: …are you aware of any engagement recently, say, in the last six months?

MR. BURNS: I will get you an answer on that, to that question.

I’d also be interested in the answer to that question.

CEIP Conference Hibbs Conversation

These are notes from the conversation that Matt Bunn and Joe Cirincione had with Mark Hibbs. They are by no means comprehensive.

p=. *The Khan Network*

* The network is still operating, or at least something like it. When asked by Joe if the proliferation networks out there are the same as the Khan network, Hibbs pointed out that the network members disappear and reappear, change the companies’ names, etc. Even if they’re convicted, business people can later go underground and restart their enterprises.

* Mark also noted that Pakistan continues to use its network to procure stuff for its nuclear program.

* More generally, he cautioned that we don’t know enough about proliferation networks and we need to learn more.

* Asked why no one outside of Pakistan has been allowed to debrief AQ Khan, Hibbs said that he was told by a Pakistani official responsible for debriefing Khan that Islamabad could never allow Khan to be interrogated by a foreign government because he knew too many of Pakistan’s nuclear secrets. The official also said that the Pakistanis told the IAEA that they’re still using at least part of the network to procure stuff for themselves – the implication being that they don’t wanna jeopardize it.

p=. *Nork HEU Program*

* Joe pointed out that Hibbs reported in October 20002 that NK may have terminated the program after having reached a technical impasse. Jeffrey has the quote “here.”:

* Hibbs said that one reason for his skepticism about North Korea’s progress was that, although there was evidence that Pyongyang was trying to obtain materials for centrifuges, there was no good evidence that the Norks had obtained materials for centrifuge rotors. For example, the NSG found out that North Korea was trying to procure a large amount of cobalt powder, as well as aluminum tubes, but neither of those could be used in or for rotors.

* I “blogged a while back”: about a similar story that Mark wrote about intelligence estimates regarding the program.

p=. *IAEA Safeguards Committee*

* Hibbs also talked about the end of the IAEA’s Advisory Committee on Safeguards and Verification. The committee, which was formed in June 2005, ended its work earlier this month – a fact which got a very brief mention during the last IAEA BoG meeting, he said.

* My understanding is that the committee produced no recommendations. I have an article coming out which talks about that subject in the forthcoming issue of _ACT_. I wrote an earlier piece about it “here.”:]

p=. *How Far Open is the Technology Barn Door?*

* In response to a question from Jeffrey about which nuclear technologies are truly out of the bag, Hibbs said that the Khan network has demonstrated that once information is stolen, it’s “not possible to get the genie back in the bottle.”

* Mark acknowledged that making improvements on stolen designs is difficult and requires serious engineering expertise.

* He also agreed with Matt (I think it was him) that actually implementing an enrichment program is hard, even if one does have the appropriate designs and technology.

p=. *Pakistan’s Centrifuge Program*

* Jeffrey, drawing on (I believe) “this post,”: also asked about an article Mark wrote about Pakistan’s P3 and P4 centrifuges. After noting that Pakistan is apparently using maraging steel, rather than carbon fiber, for the centrifuge rotors, Jeffrey asked Mark to expand on his claim that “procurement breakthroughs” have enabled Pakistan to obtain maraging steel of sufficient strength for its newest centrifuges.

Hibbs made two points:

* After noting that the Pakistanis have been using maraging steel since early 1980s, Mark explained that sources he ahd spoken with said that maraging steel is something that the Pakistanis know how to work with; they’ve done a lot of work on it over the last 15-20 years and carbon fiber would require them to retool the way they do things.

* Furthermore, Pakistan is confident that it can continue to procure this material.

Lastly, Joe mentioned a 1996 PBS Frontline interview with Mark that I didn’t know about. “Here it is.”:

As an aside, it made me feel better to hear Mark say that he had to miss some sessions at the conference because he was working on an article. I was in the same boat on day one. And kind of on day two.