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Newsweek: How to Keep the Bomb from Terrorists

Author: Graham Allison
March 14, 2009


In 2007, at the very moment Washington was sitting at the negotiating table with Pyong-Yang to hammer out a nuclear deal, North Korean officials were supplying know-how, equipment and nuclear material to Syria to build a weapons-grade reactor only a few miles from Israel's border. When the news came to light, diplomats and nuclear experts were shocked at Kim Jong Il's duplicity. Israel bombed the Syrian site later that year.

What is Kim Jong Il doing now? The question is foremost on the minds of U.S. national-security officials. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, when asked recently what keeps him awake at nights, said, "It's the thought of a terrorist ending up with a weapon of mass destruction, especially nuclear." What if Osama bin Laden offered to pay Kim Jong Il $10 million, say, for a nuclear bomb to be exploded in New York City and $20 million for a second bomb destined for Tel Aviv?

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