Foreign Affairs Hearing on the Nuclear Black Market

Posted on by Jesse Lee

The Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on the Middle East and South Asia, along with the Subcommittee on Terrorism, Nonproliferation, and Trade, chaired by Reps. Gary Ackerman and Brad Sherman respectively, are currently holding a joint hearing, “A.Q. Khan’s Nuclear Wal-Mart: Out of Business or Under New Management?” Witnesses will include Mr. Mark Fitzpatrick, Senior Fellow for Non-Proliferation at the International Institute for Strategic Studies; Mr. David Albright, President of the Institute for Science and International Security; and Ms. Lisa Curtis, Senior Research Fellow at the Asia Studies Center of the Heritage Foundation.

Watch the hearing live via committee webcast or on C Span 3.

Chairman Ackerman:
“What we have uncovered since 2003 is the single worst case of nuclear proliferation in the last 50 years. But what is most startling is not scope of Khan’s network, that stretched – far as we know – across 10 countries and involved at least 30 countries and middlemen, but that so few countries, companies or individuals have been held accountable. Apparently the stiffest penalty the Pakistani government can impose on those who sell the nuclear crown jewels is house arrest. Elsewhere around the world only a handul of Khan’s co-conspirators face criminal charges. Most continue unfettered….”

David Albright, President of the Institute for Science and International Security, gives opening testimony:

David Albright:
“What makes this smuggling so difficult to stop is that the business is so lucrative for suppliers, who rarely worry about getting caught. Or if caught, about receiving severe punishments. The Khan network has highlighted the danger posed by trans-national nuclear smuggling rings to US international security. Yet the conditions that gave rise to the Khan network, and elicit nuclear trade in general, have not receeded…”

Chairman Sherman questions witnesses on the obstacles to getting the truth about Khan’s proliferation ring:

Chairman Sherman:
“Obviously that which Khan knows is available to Musharraf, his continued free existence is available, Musharraf’ss protecting him, all of the records, all these payments were made through Pakistani banks, mostly with Pakistani government funds. Pakistan knows the very things we want to know. The question is, what reaction would there be on the street if all the information was turned over to us with the understanding that the Pakistanis involved in this nefarious scheme were beyond our access, but this would allow us to go after those in Dubai, Europe and the United States who had played a role in this program.”
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