Discussion of A.Q. Khan’s Proliferation Network (Excerpts)

September 30, 2004

Weapon Program: 

  • Nuclear
Tim Sebastian: Do you now know the extent of the nuclear proliferation that took place as a result of Pakistan's scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan, the father of their bomb, as a result of the technology he sold, the equipment that he sold and the materials that he sold around the world. Do you know the extent of it now?


Mohamed ElBaradei: Not fully yet. It's mind-boggling. All I know is there's at least more than 30 companies in 30 countries all over the globe involved in this fantastic, sophisticated illicit trafficking network with Mr A.Q. Khan acting as C.E.O.

TS: But that must be the most worrying thing?

MEB: Of course it is.

TS: 30 countries including many you didn't know before?

MEB: No, not all the companies knew that they were involved in this illicit trafficking mind you. They are, if you are exporting steel if you are exporting magnets, it could have a lot of dual usage, so they didn't know that ultimately this is ending up either in Iran or Libya.

TS: But what about his clients? Abdul Qadeer Khan's clients, the countries that shopped with him?

MEB: We are trying again, us and many other intelligence agencies working with us, to try to identify whether there are other clients. We are not yet there.

TS: Why have you not talked to the man himself?

MEB: Well we have not been allowed by Pakistan to talk to the man.

TS: Allowed. General Musharraf has been on record saying nobody asked us to be allowed to question him.

MEB: No, I think we would be absolutely happy to question him but I think.

TS: have you asked to question him?

MEB: I think we did. I think we did.

TS: But he says you haven't which is pretty extraordinary isn't it?

MEB: I'm not sure, I think we have been asking to talk to him.

TS: You can't tell me categorically the IAEA has asked to interview this man?

MEB: Well think as far as I know our people have asked, but we have been told.

TS: It would be a huge gap if you hadn't, wouldn't it?

MEB: I can tell my Pakistani friend today I would be happy to send a team tomorrow to talk to him if we can. Absolutely. It is a huge gap but . . .

TS: It's time you asked for it?

MEB: As far as I know Mr A.Q. Khan has not talked to any non-Pakistani until now, which is not frankly the greatest thing. It would be very good for us if we could talk to him directly.

TS: Syria, Saudi Arabia, were they also clients?

MEB: Well, we haven¿t seen any indications. I mean we have not seen any indications that Syria has been a client, that Saudi Arabia has been a client. In fact we sent a team to visit Syria to discuss with them all their nuclear activities. We haven¿t seen any indication. We act on any information we get Tim. We haven't gotten any specific..

TS: But it doesn't sound in this case that you were proactive enough?

MEB: Oh, we are absolutely proactive. But I cannot go around to Syria and go all over the place and say have you shopped from Mr .A.Q. Khan? I need some information, IO need a lead. We haven¿t got a single piece of information indicating any other country has shopped from Mr A.Q. Khan. If we do, I can assure you we will do it overnight.