The seizure of nuke facilities

Print edition : December 03, 2004

GEORGE FRIEDMAN, who set up Stratfor, a private intelligence agency, in 1996, would have us believe that: "In late December, when it appeared that India might launch a nuclear strike at Pakistan, Pakistan was facing a nuclear threat from two directions. When U.S. official went to mediate the crisis, it was also to deliver this message to [Pakistan President Pervez] Musharraf: `Unless U.S. observers, to put it politely were given access to Pakistani facilities in order to guarantee that nuclear materials were not being taken out by nuclear scientists and technicians close to the ISI [Inter-Services Intelligence], the U.S. would have to take steps to destroy those facilities, steps that would, if no other way was available, include nuclear strikes.' But the U.S. did not want to deal with the Pakistan issue in isolation. It had much more ambitious plans.

"In the midst of the nuclear crisis with India, the United States created another nuclear crisis for Pakistan. Unless they were able to place observers on Pakistani nuclear sites, which meant taking over those sites, the United States would not only remove any restraints that India felt but would also feel free to strike if necessary. Pakistan faced a nuclear nightmare from a completely unexpected source. The United States wanted control of Pakistan's nuclear capability, and it wasn't bluffing. It wanted that control quickly...

"However at a point in March 2002, U.S. forces (not in uniform)... along with scientists... deployed simultaneously to all of Pakistan's nuclear reactors. They rushed to take inventory of what was there and examine records of what ought to be there. The records were scarce. No conclusion could be drawn, but the technology found indicated that Pakistan was certainly in no condition to deliver a small nuclear device to Al Qaeda, given U.S. monitoring of their facilities. Also found were advanced Chinese plans for other devices that had not yet been built but which would have made Pakistan much more dangerous by increasing the reliability and sophistication of its weapons.

"The United States had secured Pakistan's nuclear facilities, although it was only nominally observing them. Musharraf worked with the United States to keep this secret."

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