The US government is guilty of allowing nuclear materials and intelligence to proliferate among some of the most dangerous regimes in the world for more than 30 years, a new book alleges.
In Fallout, authors Douglas Frantz and Catherine Collins charge that the CIA waited until it was too late to stop the A.Q. Kahn network from disseminating nuclear weapons technology to North Korea, Libya and Iran.
“They could literally have stopped him in his tracks [in the 1970s],” Franz told NPR’s Fresh Air Tuesday. “It would have done an enormous amount to delay Pakistan building its own nuclear weapon, to delay the arms race on the South Asian continent and to stop Iran from getting where it is on the nuclear front.”
“You know, so this is something that the CIA has been, in our view, guilty of for more than 30 years now,” he added.
In 1974, Kahn, who was working at a centrifuge production facility in the Netherlands, approached Pakistani officials with offers to help them with their nuclear program.
The Dutch security service first notified the CIA after they discovered Kahn in 1975, but US officials asked the Dutch to let Kahn go free so they could secretly monitor him.
“In the subsequent years and decades, Khan became clearly the most dangerous proliferator in history,” Franz noted.
In 2004, Kahn was finally arrested and put under house arrest in Pakistan. President George W. Bush hailed the arrest as a victory for his administration.
Fallout details the way the CIA recruited the Tinners, a family of Swiss engineers, to spy on Kahn beginning in the 1970s. The Tinners supplied Kahn with the techniques and materials to make gas centrifuges, which were later sold to Libya and Iran.
The CIA has spent the last seven years trying cover up their role in recruiting the Tinners, and halting a Swiss attempt to prosecute the family.
“Senior CIA and Bush administration officials argued that stopping the Tinner inquiry and destroying the evidence was necessary to protect US intelligence operations and keep nuclear information away from terrorists. But our research uncovered more sinister motives,” Franz and Collins wrote in an article the Los Angeles Times.
By stopping the investigation, the CIA had hoped to protect the Bush legacy by covering up evidence showing the true volume of nuclear secrets traded by the Kahn network.
Documents uncovered by the authors show that in February 2008, “the Swiss succumbed to US pressure and destroyed a huge cache of evidence seized from the Tinners. Among the material shredded, crushed and incinerated under CIA supervision were plans for two nuclear warheads from Pakistan’s arsenal, blueprints for uranium enrichment plants and producing nuclear weapons, and decades of records detailing network transactions.”
In the end, the destruction of evidence came too late in stopping evidence from ending up in the hands of criminals. “Copies were found in Thailand, Malaysia and South Africa; no one is sure where else they may have gone in what we regard as the world’s first example of cyber proliferation,” the authors observed.
The CIA was also successful in stopping a Swiss prosecution of six CIA officers that may have violated Swiss law by recruiting the Tinners and breaking into their house.
Last month, a Swiss magistrate recommended charging the Tinners with trafficking in technology for making nuclear weapons. The New York Times reported that in defense of the Tinners, lawyers could expose CIA secrets and tarnish the Bush legacy.
“The lesson here is clear: Leaders must set aside national interests and work cooperatively to stay ahead of nuclear traffickers,” Franz and Collins concluded. “What’s needed is a new multilateral legal regime that puts trafficking in nuclear, chemical and biological weapons on a par with crimes against humanity. This won’t be easy, but blind adherence to narrow national objectives increases the risk to all of us.”
Foreign diplomats preparing for the worst — another Trump win in 2020: ‘People don’t want to be stupid twice’
According to a report from Politico, foreign diplomats are not so sure Donald Trump will be beaten in the 2020 election and are making contingency plans for how they will deal with him should he be re-elected.
The report notes that the win by the New York businessman in 2016 caught foreign governments by surprise with former French ambassador to the United States, Gerard Araud admitting, "In 2016, nobody believed he was going to be elected. People don’t want to be stupid twice.”
According to Politico, "There’s no known scientific survey on the topic — few foreign officials would participate in one given diplomatic norms that preclude them from commenting on another country's internal politics. But none who talked to POLITICO were willing to say that Trump will lose. Instead, they pointed to three key advantages for Trump: He’s the incumbent, the U.S. economy is strong and the Democrats have no definitive front-runner to challenge him."
Trump Twitter-rages at ‘evil propaganda machine’ New York Times
President Donald Trump kicked off his Sunday morning by going on a multi-tweet rant about the New York Times where he blamed them for his poor poll numbers and called them "an evil propaganda machine.'
Trump began with, "The Failing New York Times, in one of the most devastating portrayals of bad journalism in history, got caught by a leaker that they are shifting from their Phony Russian Collusion Narrative (the Mueller Report & his testimony were a total disaster), to a Racism Witch Hunt....., " before adding, "'Journalism' has reached a new low in the history of our Country. It is nothing more than an evil propaganda machine for the Democrat Party. The reporting is so false, biased and evil that it has now become a very sick joke...But the public is aware! #CROOKEDJOURNALISM."
Trump suggests hitting France with 100 percent tariff on wine over dispute with Macron
According to a report from Bloomberg, President Donald Trump publicly suggested that he would consider a 100 percent tariff on wines coming from France.
The report states that the president recently made the suggestion as part of his trade war that has crippled American manufacturers and farmers while at the same time hitting American consumers' wallets.
Trump's comments came during a recent Long Island fundraiser and were tied to his unhappiness with President Emmanuel Macron and his tax on multinational technology companies.