US House Committee on Foreign Affairs Hearing on Dr. AQ Khan
Nuclear Black Markets: Can we win the game of catch-up with determined proliferators?
‘Khan network no longer exists’
From Khalid Hasan: Daily Times, June 29, 2007
WASHINGTON: Experts testifying before a congressional committee on Wednesday agreed that the AQ Khan network “is no longer in existence”.
The hearing by the subcommittee on the Middle East and South Asia, headed by Gerry Ackerman of New York, and the subcommittee on terrorism, nonproliferation and trade, was devoted to the theme: US policy and Pakistan’s nuclear weapons. The three witnesses who presented testimonies and answered questions were: David Albright of the Institute of Science and Technology, Mark Fitzpatrick of the International Institute for Strategic Studies, London and Lisa Curtis of the Heritage Foundation.
Under persistent questioning by members of the committee wanting to know if the AQ Khan network has been effectively wrapped up, the experts were in accord on the point that the network is no longer operative. In its most functional and active stage, there were about 40 to 50 people involved in its operations in Pakistan and abroad and the Dubai end is still in existence. In answer to a question, one of the experts said that Dr Khan’s motivation appeared to be financial rather than ideological.
David Albright, one of the leading authorities in Washington on nuclear proliferation and related areas, said it had not been confirmed that it was the Saudi Kingdom that had financed Pakistan’s nuclear programme. However, there could be an understanding that Pakistan would aid Saudi Arabia if called upon to do so, but there was no evidence that Pakistan had supplied nuclear weapons or nuclear know-how to Saudi Arabia. One expert said these nuclear weapons were Pakistan’s “crown jewels” and “we’ve some confidence that Pakistan is committed to protect them.”
The members of the committee, with the exception of Sheila Jackson-Lee, were openly hostile to Pakistan during their individual presentations and in their questioning of the three experts. Ackerman found it ironic that the “stiffest penalty” the Pakistani government could impose on those who sell its “nuclear crown jewels” is house arrest.
Congressman Ed Royce of California said Pakistan owes more to the world than it had so far revealed. He also accused Dr Khan of “stealing” nuclear technology from Holland. One member said that the Pakistan government was “complicit” in the Khan network. He also urged direct access to Dr Khan. Another member said it was not possible to transport nuclear equipment in a C-130 aircraft without the knowledge of army command.