Report reflects four years of research into AQ Khan's ring, and the discovery of the new computer plans in Switzerland....
In 2003, Libya acknowledged receiving blueprints from Khan. But the designs were those of an old and largely obsolete atomic bomb.
In contrast, the Swiss nationals who represented Khan acquired a design for a smaller atomic weapon that could be installed on a ballistic missile. The report said the design -- believed obtained from Pakistan's nuclear weapons program -- would be suitable for the missiles that Iran and Libya have deployed.
The Swiss nationals, at least two of whom remain in jail, also possessed hundreds of pages of files that provided instructions on assembling an advanced nuclear weapon.
A report by the Institute for Science and International Security determined that the nuclear smuggling ring led by Pakistani scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan obtained blueprints of an advanced atomic weapon and sold nuclear components and technology to Iran, Libya and North Korea.
"These advanced nuclear weapons designs may have long ago been sold off to some of the most treacherous regimes in the world," the report, authored by institute president David Albright, said.
The Khan blueprint was discovered in 2006 on computers owned by Swiss nationals -- Marco and Urs Tinner and their father, Friedrich -- who worked with the smuggling ring. The contents of the computers were destroyed by Switzerland under the supervision of the International Atomic Energy Agency.
WORSE AND WORSE...
The report said the information could have solved the warhead difficulties for both Iran and North Korea.
"These would have been ideal for two of Khan's other major customers, Iran and North Korea," the report said. "They both faced struggles in building a nuclear warhead small enough to fit atop their ballistic missiles, and these designs were for a warhead that would fit."
While reliable information from inside Pakistan is difficult to come by, it is known that Abdul Qadeer Khan brought millions of dollars into the coffers of Pakistan's ruling military elite. Despite claims by his friend, Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf, the evidence suggests Khan wasn't motivated by greed. Instead, Khan seems to have been authorized to promote Pakistan's nuclear weapons development through the sale of blueprints and technology to oil-rich Middle East states and the relay of such expertise to such partners as North Korea.
While Khan may not be the father of Pakistan's nuclear bomb, as he is known, he was clearly the most politically connected and PR-minded of Pakistan's nuclear developers. Khan didn't merely supervise development of Pakistan's bomb; he also helped develop Pakistan's Ghauri intermediate-range missile.
Khan, who had been feted and wooed by Pakistani presidents since 1976, may have been working for Musharraf, who pardoned in 2004 his favorite scientist immediately after he was charged.
"In the last year, we've uncovered probably the most significant hemorrhaging of nuclear weapons technology since the Soviets penetrated the Manhattan Project [in 1947]," said Joseph Cirincione, director of the Non-Proliferation Project at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.
"Pakistan had a multinational, sophisticated operation selling some of the most advanced nuclear weapons technology in the world. We are now claiming it as an intelligence coup, but not imposing penalties of any kind on Pakistan or any of the senior officials involved in this network," he said.
The discovery of the Pakistani nuclear black market disproved the long-held theory that Islamabad would be responsible in its nuclear development program. For decades, the conventional thinking in the CIA and State Department had been that Pakistan would never endanger its standing as an emerging nuclear power by sharing such technology with other countries.
How can RESPONSIBLE, PRUDENT leaders do other than assume that Iran and others inimical to our way of life, have in their possession both the means to manufacture sufficient U-235, and the designs to build a weapon SMALL ENOUGH to fit on an inaccurate (how accurtae does it have to be at 50 kilotons?) older generation liquid fueled missile?
This report does not state that the designs for the small weapon was for a plutonium weapon, or a modern american hydrogen weapon. It states "these designs were for a warhead that would fit".
Any bets on Israel attacking Iran sometime after the November election, and before any other president takes office? How on earth can they do other?