Brits First to Connect Bin Laden to Pakistani Nuclear Help

According to Bob Woodward’s Plan of Attack, in late November 2001, Britain’s CIA, MI6, found that a Pakistani nuclear weapons designer was willing to sell a nuclear bomb design to a British undercover agent posing as a terrorist. He offered information on a dirty bomb as well as on a relatively sophisticated nuclear bomb. Woodward says that CIA agents found a diagram of a dirty bomb when they overran a bin Laden sanctuary in Afghanistan. As a result, Woodward says that Bush sent then-CIA Director Tenet to peel “back the eyeballs of” Pakistani General Musharraf. The CIA asked the Washington Post to sit on a story about the Pakistani connection because it might cause the Pakistanis to stop cooperating. Woodward concludes, “Four months later, the senior CIA official said the agency ‘didn’t find what we feared in Afghanistan, but is it somewhere else? I don’t think we’re to the bottom of this yet.'”

In a footnote, Woodward says, “This was the beginning of the operation that in 2004 uncovered the clandestine sale of nuclear technology by the head of Pakistan’s nuclear program, Abdul Qadeer Khan, who later confessed to aiding Iran, North Korea and Libya.” I’m not sure that this was the operation that led to exposing the A.Q. Khan network, although it may have contributed important information which allowed intelligence analysts to figure out what was going on when Libya turned its nuclear program over to the West. I think Libya’s move was what exposed A.Q. Khan, and that Libya was motivated by its desire to settle the PanAm 103 incident and return to the West’s good graces.

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