Pallone Says Musharraf Must Allow U.S. Intelligence Agencies the Chance to Interview Dr. Khan About Pakistan's Nuclear Transfers To North Korea
Long Branch, NJ --- Following up on disturbing reports that Pakistani scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan not only sold nuclear equipment to North Korea, Iran and Libya but also visited a secret underground nuclear plant in North Korea, U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ) today strongly urged President Pervez Musharraf to allow U.S. Intelligence agencies the opportunity to interview Dr. Khan in person. Pallone's request came in a letter sent to the Pakistani president today.
"I am writing to you today because I am concerned that you are not permitting further inquiry into this situation and in particular, that you are refusing to allow U.S. intelligence agencies to directly question Dr. Khan," Pallone wrote in his letter to President Musharraf. "This is extremely disconcerting on a number of levels, namely because the U.S. is missing many critical details due to Pakistan's withholding of information and more specifically, proof of whether or not the nuclear exchange took place beyond North Korea, Iran and Libya."
The New Jersey congressman said despite the fact that Pakistan has been declared an ally in the global war on terror its nuclear behavior exemplifies just the opposite. Although Pakistan has provided the United States and its Asian allies some information regarding the nuclear transfers, American officials believe the Pakistani government is withholding critical information.
In his letter, Pallone expressed concerns that there are still no safeguards in place to prevent further nuclear assistance from Pakistan to rogue nations that do not have an agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency.
"In addition, because your government is failing to comply with the U.S. in its investigation, I believe the U.S. Department of State should work with the United Nations and appropriate agencies to enter Pakistan and monitor its nuclear program," Pallone continued. "U.N. supervision is necessary in order to ensure that Pakistan is no longer capable of allowing nuclear information to fall into the wrong hands and in order to ensure that the U.S. can adequately conduct an investigation into the illegal actions of Dr. Khan by serving as a nuclear resource to rogue nations."
The New Jersey congressman also expressed his disappointment with Musharraf's pardon of Dr. Khan and his declaration that the scientist remains a national hero. Dr. Khan, known as the father of the Pakistani bomb, has told Pakistani officials that he began discussions with North Korea about the production of nuclear weapons back in the late 1980's, and then began nuclear equipment shipments in the late 1990's.