Abdul Qadeer Khan - Expansion of Network - Dismantlement and Debriefings

Dismantlement and Debriefings

In December 2003, Libya announced that it had agreed to abandon its undisclosed nuclear program. The Libyan government officials were quoted as saying that "Libya had bought nuclear components from various black market dealers, including Pakistan's". The U.S. officials who visited the Libyan uranium enrichment plants reported that the gas centrifuges used there were very similar to the Iranian centrifuges. The IAEA officials found the models of Paksat-1, at the Libyan nuclear facility. By the time the evidence against Qadeer Khan had surfaced, Qadeer Khan had become a public icon in the country and held the most prestigious science tier, the office of Science Adviser to the President. But, Qadeer Khan's open promotion of atomic bombs and missiles became an embarrassment to the Pakistan government, with the world becoming increasingly convinced that A.Q. Khan had strengthened his network around the globe. In 2002, the United States provided documented evidences to the Pakistan Government on Qadeer Khan's nuclear network. The Wall Street Journal quoted unnamed "senior Pakistan government officials" as conceding that Qadeer Khan's dismissal from KRL had been prompted by the U.S. government's suspicions. On 31 January 2004, Qadeer Khan was dismissed from his post, and the government launched a full-fledged investigation on Qadeer Khan to ostensibly "allow a fair investigation" of the allegations. On 4 February 2004, Qadeer Khan appeared on state-owned media Pakistan Television (PTV) and confessed to running a proliferation ring, and admitted to transferring technology to Iran between 1989 and 1991, to North Korea and Libya between 1991 and 1997 (U.S. officials at the time maintained that transfers had continued with Libya until 2003), and additional technology to North Korea up until 2000.

Although he was not arrested, he was summoned for a "debriefing" conducted by the joint law officers from JAG Branch. The debriefings also implicated the role of the former chief of army staff general Mirza Beg. The Wall Street Journal quoted U.S. government officials as saying that Qadeer Khan had told the investigators that "General Beg had authorized the transfers to Iran."

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