Saturday, July 4, 2009

How Secure Are Pakistan's Nukes?

The latest issues of Arms Control Today contains an article called, "Nuclear Security in Pakistan: Reducing the Risks of Nuclear Terrorism." The author, Rolf Mowatt-Larssen, has some fairly disturbing things to say. For example,
The greatest threat of a loose nuke scenario stems from insiders in the nuclear establishment working with outsiders, people seeking a bomb or material to make a bomb. Nowhere in the world is this threat greater than in Pakistan. Pakistani authorities have a dismal track record in thwarting insider threats.
He details the fairly well-known Abdul Khan example of selling nuclear secrets, and those of the Umma-Tameer-e-Nau (UTN) network, which actually discussed making a nuclear weapon for Al Qaeda. And as Mowatt-Larssen points out,
There are troubling indications that these insider threats are not anomalies. In the Khan and UTN cases, the rogue senior officers and their cohorts in the nuclear establishment were not caught by Pakistan's security establishment. It would be foolhardy to assume that such lapses could not happen again.
He argues for greater U.S. cooperation on assisting Pakistan with nuclear security, and notes that at present everything seems to be under control. Unfortunately much of the article seems to portray Pakistan as a nuclear time bomb. I hope the U.S. has some first-rate contingency plans to respond to various possible scenarios involving Pakistani nuclear weapons. 

No comments:

Post a Comment