CHARLES FERGUSON: Ladies and gentlemen, may I have your attention please? We're getting ready to get started. Hi, I'm Charles Ferguson. I'm a fellow for science and technology here at the Council on Foreign Relations. I work on nuclear issues. I'm just going to step aside in a few minutes -- well, a few moments here -- and let Steve Coll run the show. He's much better at presiding over these kind of gatherings than I am -- I'm more the facilitator, making sure the meeting runs on time. And also we should thank Lisa Obrentz for making sure we have this excellent food to eat and for organizing this event as well.
I should remind you this is an on-the-record meeting. It will be recorded and will be transcribed and will be up on cfr.org, hopefully in a matter of a few days. And we are very honored here to have three excellent journalists to lead us through a discussion of a very urgent issue, the issue of the nuclear black market that Dr. A.Q. Khan started, and implications of that black market for nuclear security and international security.
Steve Coll -- you have his bio in the handout, to show how modest and also important he is, it's a very slim bio, but you'll notice that he's a double Pulitzer Prize winner. He won his most recent Pulitzer Prize for this excellent book, "Ghost Wars." If you don't have it, I highly recommend it. It's available at your local bookstore and online. And he has since left employment full time at the New Yorker Magazine. Now he's heading up the New America Foundation. He's president of that think tank. And it's a pleasure to have him here in Washington, D.C., working full-time in the think tank community as well as the Council on Foreign Relations.
Now, at this moment I'll turn it over to Steve, and Steve will introduce Douglas Frantz and Catherine Collins, the authors of this excellent book, "The Nuclear Jihadist," which will be released next month. Thank you.
STEVE COLL: Thank you, Charles. I know that my editors at the New Yorker would wish for me to emphasize that I'm still obligated to them -- (laughter) -- and in fact I'm still a staff writer there, though I now have, as you point out, two jobs rather than one.
Thank you all very much for being here today. And I think you'll be glad you came. I have had the advantage of reading the book that we're going to hear about today, and I am delighted to participate in its launch because I really think it's an outstanding piece of work -- one of the finest pieces of investigative journalism between hard covers that's been published this year. And that won't surprise those of you who have read Doug's coverage in the Los Angeles Times leading up to this. But this book goes far beyond anything that you've seen so far about -- particularly -- well, we'll save the details for the discussion.
Just a couple of housekeeping items and a preview of our format. As Charles said, we're on the record and being transcribed. So please be considerate of the suffering research assistants who are going to have to transcribe this after we're gone. And when it comes time to ask a question, make sure that you have a microphone in front of you and that you speak as deliberately and clearly as you can. And also identify yourself, please, even though we're all sitting with placards in front of us, the transcript will make much more sense if you remember to do that. And I'm sure you've all though to silence your phones and BlackBerrys; but, if you haven't, this would be a good moment to do that.
With no additional introduction, we're going to ask each Doug and Cathy to speak for about 10 minutes each, and then I'll ask a couple of questions using the chair's prerogative. And then we'll turn it over to the room, and we promise to get you out of here promptly at 2:00, so I'll keep an eye on the time.
So, Doug, which of you has drawn the short straw as going first?
DOUGLAS FRANTZ: Catherine is going first.
COLL: Catherine is going first.
CATHERINE COLLINS: Well, before we begin, I'd like to thank the Council on Foreign Relations for inviting us here today. And we are particularly pleased that Dr. Ferguson liked the book enough to go ahead with this, and we're very grateful. Thank you, Lisa, also for everything you've done to pull this all together. And of course, Steve Coll, thank you very much. I want to say that his books kept me up many nights -- or his last book, particularly, kept me up many nights and wide awake on several very long airplane flights. Thank you.
And one more note. Our publisher has finally sent down some party favors -- some books in the back. So please take one home with you, or we'll end up taking them back with us in the cab.
It occurred to us when we were thinking about coming here today that this was going to be a very tough crowd -- that all of you have been following this issue for a very long time and many of you have already written very insightfully about it on your own. So, with that in mind, we hope to offer you some bits and pieces of new information and perhaps some new context in which you can view information that you already have.
There are two, or perhaps three, known nuclear hot spots in the world today, and A.Q. Khan's fingerprints are all over all of them. So, as it has roiled with the political instability we're seeing on the new everyday, we'd like to go first to Pakistan. Considering what is going on there, we think it's worthwhile to think about what would happen if Musharraf were to be forced out and perhaps if Benazir Bhutto would be brought back to power as the leader of a key, and a nuclear-armed, ally.
Benazir Bhutto has long been regarded in this country with some fondness. Americans have a tendency, I think anyway, to look at the first female leader of a modern Muslim nation as -- the Harvard-educated Bhutto -- as sympathetic to Western concerns, sympathetic to American concerns, as having an anti-nuclear stance and being a true force for democracy.
For those of us who've met her, you know that she is a very charming woman and a very wily character, and for some she's even more charming than for others. (Laughter.) Anyway --
FERGUSON: For the record, I'm smiling. (Laughter.)
COLLINS: A lot. Early -- so we have a couple of stories to tell you about Benazir Bhutto, some that -- and we think that they reveal pretty different sides of her character, both personally and as a leader and as a possibly ally of course from our point of view.
Early in the first year of her first term in office, Bhutto was invited to Tehran for a conference for Islamic heads of state, and she was given a very warm welcome. She was the guest of honor -- seated next to the new president of Iran, Hashemi Rafsanjani -- I pronounced it right this time, Doug. As you know, Rafsanjani had just been brought to power earlier that year on the promise of restoring Iran to its military dominance in the region. The Iran-Iraq War had taught him and his country that they could not count on the international community for protection. So after dinner, Rafsanjani asked to speak to Bhutto in private, and he took her aside to a small room -- and she invited an aide to come along and listen in. And while they were sitting in this room, he has a proposal to make to her, and this is how she told the story to us while we were sitting in her living room in Dubai just a couple of years ago. She said that he told her that their countries had reached an agreement on a military-to-military basis for Pakistan to provide nuclear technology to Iran. And then standing there alone in that small room, he wanted them as leaders of their nations to confirm that agreement, that relationship, to formalize that relationship.
Bhutto told us, however, that she knew nothing of the arrangement. She said that she was furious when she heard about it. She said that she told him she could not condone the arrangement, and that when she returned to Islamabad she would take it up with her people there, with the military and her aides.
Because of later claims by her aides that she did not -- that she did in fact know -- some of you may just see this as Bhutto's convenient concoction to hide the fact that she knew everything about this arrangement with Iran. But, for the purpose of this story, we're going to let her story stand and take it at face value and let her -- and allow her claim that she did not know about Iran's arrangements to stand. The following year, as you know, Benazir Bhutto was removed from power by the military.
The second story took place in 1993 at the beginning of her second term in office. She'd been planning a state visit to China, and A.Q. Khan came to her office and asked for a meeting. He had a very simple request. He wanted to know if she'd make a quick stop on her way to China in North Korea. And, again, she told us that he said, simply, "It would be very nice if you'd stop there to talk to Kim Il Jong (sic/Kim Jong Il) about helping us with this little nuclear thing." She had never really been very fond of Khan. She had always been very suspicious of him. And she was instantly suspicious about this proposal. In an attempt to reassure her, Khan explained, she said, that he'd been talking to the North Koreans and that they are willing to sell Pakistan the designs for Nodong missile, which would carry a nuclear payload.
Bhutto knew that Pakistan already had missiles, and she knew that those missiles were already capable of carrying a nuclear payload to India. She said that she was reluctant because of that to exacerbate the arms race. But then she reconsidered what he was proposing. She saw that pleasing Khan by doing this would be a way to perhaps curry favor with the military, and in doing that to make her own path as the prime minister this time around just a little bit easier. So a few days later, she flew to Pyongyang, where she was given yet another lavish welcome. They managed to coax tens of thousands of people out into the streets to have parades and welcome her. There were state dinners and there were speeches. She sort of renewed her father's own fond relationship with North Korea. And when she addressed their leader that night, she stated that of course Pakistan, like North Korea, was committed to nonproliferation. But she also said that their countries had, quote, "the right to acquire and develop nuclear technology for peaceful purposes geared to their own economic development."
So she returned to Pakistan with the missile blueprints. But before handing them off to Khan, she said that she was adamant about warning him that they were not to be used unless of course India went ahead and started developing their own missiles like those. Khan, of course, as you know, ignored her and went forward with the work immediately in order to develop a bigger and better missile.
So this story raises some questions. American intelligence officials and diplomats often point to the 1993 incident as the start of a barter arrangement in which Khan traded uranium enrichment technology to North Korea in exchange for the North Koreans help with developing his Ghauri missile. But Bhutto and other Pakistani leaders have always been adamant that they paid for these plans in cash and that they did not authorize Khan to provide North Korea with nuclear technology. It's hard to prove what is actually the case.
And as long as I'm telling you about Bhutto's stories, I'd like to remind you of the time in 1989 when she had the honor of addressing the joint session of Congress when she said -- it was early in her first administration -- "I can declare that we do not possess, nor do we intend to make a nuclear device." And she brought that room to its feet in a standing ovation. And the next day she was invited out to the CIA headquarters where of course they showed her a full -- a scale model of the Pakistani bomb. So the next day, with President Bush, she amended her promise, and she promised that they would keep the enrichment level below what was necessary in order to make weapons grade uranium.
So, in response to that, she was rewarded when Bush recertified Pakistan as being bomb free and renewed the aid or continued the aid to Pakistan, and then agreed to sell Pakistan 60 -- an additional 60 F-16 fighter jets.
So these are all different stories, different sides of Benazir Bhutto. And it begs the question, who exactly is she, and what will she do if she returns to power? One moment she appears to be opposed to sharing nuclear technology, and the very next she is willing to help the greatest private proliferator in history because it was politically expedient at that time to her. I would suggest only that she is alone, and if she returns to power that is not reason to relax on the issue of Pakistan's nuclear arsenal. And so, with that, Doug will take you to another one of the nuclear hot spots, Iran.
FRANTZ: Thanks, Cathy.
Iran has been pushed out of the headlines by Pakistan the last couple of weeks, and that's why I had to go second. I'm first on the book, you'll notice -- I drew the right short straw there.
But, as we see through yesterday's report by the IAEA, there is much reason for concern about Iran today. You know, we're rightly looking at the turmoil in Pakistan, but let's not forget about Iran, and I'm sure that this administration particularly will not, for better or worse.
I'm going to talk just for a minute about a few things that are in the IAEA report. I assume that everyone in here has either seen the report or read one of the stories in the papers this morning about it. There are a couple of things that seem important to me, particularly in the context of our book, because I think that one of the strengths of this book is that we really give an inside look at the ways and the difficulties that confronted the IAEA when they were dealing with Pakistan from 2002 forward. I think there's a lot of new information in there, even for those of you who know this subject very well. We had very generous access to some people at the IAEA, and we had access to a lot of documents from there and from other agencies -- related agencies. And I think that one of the places where you all will find some really new and interesting material is in the last few chapter of the book, if you want to skip past the other stuff.
But one of the highlights I thought from the IAEA report today was that Iran now has 3,000 centrifuges up and running. That's enormous progress in the last year. Now, they're not up and running for a long time, and they're not producing much enriched uranium yet, but that's a significant step forward, and that's a step that's going to be difficult, and I would posit, impossible to reverse, frankly. That's a red line that they've crossed in the view of many places. I've had a lot of conversations in reporting for the Los Angeles Times, and then doing further reporting for this book, with members of the Israeli military and Israeli intelligence, and these conversations started in 2003 and continued up until about six months ago. And for them this was the red line that was always there, and I think in their view in Tel Aviv, this red line has been crossed. I thought that was a very significant item in the IAEA report today, confirming what the Iranians have been saying for some months now.
I thought the other thing that was really significant was that they have advanced their work on the P-2. That's the more sophisticated, more efficient centrifuge which will allow them to produce enriched uranium much faster -- much, much faster than the P-1, which is -- that's the version they have up at Natanz now.
You know, that really flies in the face of claims the Iranians have made for the past two-and-a-half years that they never had really worked on the P-2; that it just sat there. And so I think that that advance with the P-2 is emblematic of the pattern that we've seen in dealing with the Iranians, and certainly the obstacles that the IAEA confronted when they went there, and that is a pattern of stalling and of deception and of never coming forward with any bit of information until they are absolutely confronted with it and forced to do so.
There are a couple of incidents in the book that I'd like to describe to illustrate that claim of mine. The first involves a place called Kaliyeh, which is on the outskirts of Tehran, and it was one of the locations that the Iranian exiles identified as -in 2002 -- as part of Iran's secret nuclear program. You'll remember that until August of 2002 the existence of Iran's program was not a complete secret certainly -- the press had written about it some. But it was certainly deep in the shadows. And after the resistance group had their press conference here in Washington, not far from where we're sitting now, world attention focused on Iran, and the IAEA attention certainly focused on Iran. And one of the places that they wanted to see was this electronics clock manufacturing workshop on the outskirts that had been identified as an enrichment center. And when they first wanted to try to go there in March of 2003 the Iranians refused to let them go. The second time was a few months later, in May of 2003, and there was a full team of IAEA inspectors, and they went out to Kaliyeh. And there are two main buildings there. They were taken into one of them which was simply still a rundown factory, and there was nothing of any interest there. They were taken into the second building, and it was spick and span inside -- completely emptied out on the first floor. One of the inspectors told us that the grout was still wet between the tiles. And so this was obviously a place that had been scrubbed. Up on the second floor they found some clocks that had been made in Japan -- and that was obviously -- or at least presumably part of the cover story that this was a watch making -- a clock making company.
At that point the IAEA inspection team tried to pull out their cotton swabs to do the environmental sampling to check and see if there were any traces of enriched uranium here. And again the Iranians stopped them. They said this was an unauthorized activity, and they prohibited it. And certainly the belief of the inspectors then was that Iran felt that by cleaning up Kaliyeh, by moving away not only the walls and the floors inside, and repainting and retiling, but by moving away tons of earth surrounding that building also that they had been able to wipe away the traces of the enrichment activities that had been there.
Finally, in early August, under continued pressure from the IAEA, the inspection team was let in and allowed to do sampling. And we know now from subsequent IAEA reports that they did in fact find traces not only of just enriched uranium there, but of highly enriched uranium. Now, that was a finding that caused enormous concern at the IAEA and other places, and the Iranians here were -- they were forced now -- up until that point they'd claimed that the entire centrifuge program was indigenous. Well, here they're confronted with this evidence, and so they had to acknowledge then that they had bought some of this equipment on the open market, and they ultimately pointed to Pakistan as the supplier. Now, that is to us one of the premier examples here of how the Iranians have operated throughout this ordeal with the IAEA. The IAEA asks questions and Iran doesn't provide answers. The IAEA finds evidence, and they come back and subsequently provide answers. There are certainly still some unanswered questions. And it's very difficult, we found, for the IAEA to force anyone to provide answers and access when they don't want to. It's one of the failings, I think, in the way the IAEA was initially set up. They didn't have as much authority and enforcement authority as one would expect a nuclear watchdog to have. And I think that -- we talked about that in the book. We've talked to a number of people who were involved in the formation of the IAEA, and that was purposeful. Countries didn't want to give over too much sovereignty to an international organization.
But I think if we look at what's happened in Iran and what the IAEA missed there, if we look at what the IAEA had missed in Libya, as we found out in December of 2003, you know, maybe it's a time now for a review and a determination that there's new authority needed at the IAEA. Certainly beginning under Hans Blix and accelerating under Mohamed ElBaradei, the agency has tried to develop within its legal parameters new authorities. We have the additional protocol, which a fair number of countries have signed and which does give them the authority to do essentially snap inspections -- though not quite. But I think that there's room there for a pretty thorough review.
Now, let me go back to Iran just for one minute and ask, you know, what else they might be hiding. Catherine and I had a piece on Sunday in the Washington Post -- I don't know whether any of you -- I hope some of you saw it anyway. But there we discussed the reasons that we feel the Bush administration should be pressing to be able to question A.Q. Khan on their own. And the main question that needs to be asked, and the question that he's one of the few people in the world that can answer, is, "Does Iran have the same Chinese warhead plans that A.Q. Khan provided to Libya?" There's plenty of circumstantial evidence that they do. There's little reason to think that Khan would have provided them to Libya and not to Iran. It's one of the interesting things -- when the IAEA teams got into Libya after Qadhafi gave up his program -- this was in January of '04 -- they were in there and they saw the same kinds of centrifuge equipment and other nuclear equipment and material that they had been seeing in Iran. So that was what prompted them to go back and ask about the P-2s -- because Libya had them. Well, yes, Iran, confronted with this evidence again, admitted that they had P-2 designs, but they said they'd never really allowed them to work. And so, you know, it seems to me that the pressing question here is did Iran get those bomb plans. And the fact that A.Q. Khan is sitting in his house in Islamabad outside of the reach of the IAEA and the United States intelligence is a failure on the part of this administration. I mean, I'm not suggesting an extraordinary rendition or waterboarding, but I'm suggesting that we should in fact question him on our own. We shouldn't outsource this questioning to the ISI or to anyone else. I think it's incumbent upon the United States to press perhaps a new government in Pakistan to turn him over.
I think that's all I've got to say. And I hope we have stimulated some conversation. I'm sure you all have got things to say. And I hope also that you enjoy the book very much. Thanks. (Applause.)
COLL: Thank you, Doug and Catherine, both of you.
I'm going to have to restrain myself because I have quite a lot of questions I'd like to ask, but I'll limit myself to a couple -- or perhaps three, if I'm kind to myself.
One involves the relationship between A.Q. Khan and the Iranians which as, I'm sure many here understand, an outline began in the late '80s clearly as statecraft by the government of Pakistan whether by the army alone or the army in collaboration with elements of the civilian government. Aslan Bagg (sp) had this strategic idea that led him for his part into that discussion with the Iranians.
But at least in my mind I still feel befuddled about the second set of interactions in the mid '90s where the P-2 was transferred and where apparently some P-1s that were coming out of service in Pakistan were also sold in a bundle by A.Q. Khan. Do you believe that as late as the mid '90s, the promotion of the Iranian or the aid to the Iranian nuclear weapons program was a deliberate policy by the Pakistan army? Or do you think that the second set of interactions in and around Dubai represented the entrepreneurial side of A.Q. Khan's sort of commercial agenda?
FRANTZ: I'll take it, okay?
FRANTZ: I think that's a really good question, Steve, and it's one of the questions that we worked very hard in our reporting to try to find an answer to. And I think the short answer is I think it -- is that it was Khan's entrepreneurial nature that got that one under way. According to the information that we've seen and that we write about in here, an Iranian defense minister was in Islamabad at a meeting, at a reception, and that Khan had been asked specifically by the Iranians to attend that reception. And he and the ambassador had a private conversation in which the ambassador asked Khan if he and the network could in fact provide some help to Iran.
There's a little bit of history -- let me just back up -- not to belabor this, the answer to your question -- but by 1994, Khan had in a way worked himself out of a job in Pakistan. He'd enriched enough uranium to fulfill all the needs of the Pakistani nuclear arsenal at that time. Kahuta was up and running and continuing to churn out HEU. Khan was building the Ghauri missile at that time. He was branching off into other conventional weapons as well, you know, but his primary function in the nuclear industry, we think, was coming to an end. And yet he was struggling to remain relevant, and I think he was also suffering -- well, no question he was suffering from a good bout of hubris.
And so I think it's our contention in the book -- and I think we provide substantial evidence -- that this was entrepreneurial on his part. You know, does that mean that nobody knew in the military? No, I don't think that. I think that A.Q. Khan was still a very prominent and important scientist. I think that his travels were well documented and, therefore, I think that the military must have known and decided to turn a blind eye. I do not believe they initiated it; I believe they turned a blind eye. They allowed him to send that material out. But all the indications are that he and the network were running this one on their own. And I think the same is true with Libya, which started really in 1997. I think, again, that was Khan's entrepreneurial nature at work.
COLL: Thank you. Another important mystery, at least in my mind, is the question of who else Khan might have interacted with on the sell side between 1990 and his eventual exposure. Your book reflects a great deal of scrutiny that you've been able to bring to the IAEA investigations and -- nonetheless, the IAEA and many other investigators have been frustrated by the lack of direct access to Khan. So I know that the answer to this question is to some extent inferential. But from your examination of the evidence, what do you think we know -- what do you think the best hypothesis is about other countries that Khan might have interacted with, even at the level of speculative conversation? And, in particular, do you see any indications that he interacted as a potential seller with Syria or Saudi Arabia? And I've also heard suggestions that he might have interacted in a more advanced way with buyers in South America, even with the Brazilians. Have you ever come across indications of that?
FRANTZ: Do you want to do that?
COLLINS: I prefer that you do them all -- (Chuckles.)
But I think you struck on the biggest mystery. There's no doubt that Khan's travels were monitored, that he travels to dozens of countries, dozens and dozens of trips. He gave speeches in Saudi Arabia, he traveled to Syria. And we think he -- oh, sorry -- when the whole network was being dismantled, also one of his last instructions to some of his colleagues were to destroy records, yet to maintain copies of the plans. And nobody -- they've ever resurfaced. Equipment went missing. It's never resurfaced. And so that is the mystery. Where did it go? Where did the plans go and with whom did he do business? And that is one of our strongest concerns that we will find out at some point in the future. And Doug will want to say more about that.
FRANTZ: Yeah, let me just add -- I mean, Khan made several trips to Damascus in the late 1990s. A former Syrian diplomat told us that Khan at a meeting with an audience of military officers urged Syria to arm itself with nuclear weapons in order to hold off the United States. This former diplomat said that there were no takers in Syria, that they weren't interested in that. You know, I think if we look at recent events we might wonder about his veracity.
But, that said, we found no evidence -- and I don't believe the IAEA has found any evidence of Khan selling material or equipment to Syria or Saudi Arabia or any other country. What we have is, as Catherine said, a big mystery. There's missing equipment -- critical equipment -- centrifuges, a lathe, and other precision tools to help manufacture centrifuges that are the sorts of things that could give a country a big jump start when it comes to enriching uranium. And there's a list of suspect countries: Saudi Arabia, Syria, perhaps even some place like Sudan. We've never come across Brazil with Khan. That's a new one. That's a new one to me, but I'll be down to Rio very soon to check it out. (Laughter.)
COLL: Not on my word, please.
Just to take the prerogative to ask one last question. One element of the book that I found particularly revealing was your narrative of the intelligence operations that contributed to the exposure of the Khan network, and particularly your full and jaw dropping in places -- at least for me -- account of how the Tinners were penetrated and turned. The Tinners are a family in Switzerland who were a part of the manufacturing network that supported the Libya project. And I just -- it's one of those rare times where a human intelligence operation of some significance is described with some confidence. So I wondered if you could just tell us a little bit about the story as you understand it, and then also what does it -- what about it was successful and what about it was too late or unsuccessful as an example of what is possible for such operations to achieve?
COLLINS: Okay, since you're going to --
COLLINS: -- I want to add something at the end, though.
FRANTZ: Okay. Jaw dropping -- that's great. Thank you, Steve, very much. For me, it was, in fact, jaw dropping when a former senior CIA official described for me how the agency had recruited a young Swiss technician named Urs Tinner. Now, his father, Frederick Tinner, had been a longtime supplier to Pakistan back in the '70s. He'd supplied Pakistan's nuclear program with vacuum technology, and then he set up his own business in Switzerland in what they call Vacuum Valley in Switzerland, the Tinners had. And he brought his sons, Marco and Urs, into that. And when Khan started gearing up in the late 1990s to supply Libya with basically a complete off-the-shelf bomb-making factory, he turned once again to the Tinners for help. And he went so far this time as to recruit young Urs Tinner, who was in his early 30s, to come and manage the plant that they were going to set up -- first, they planned to do it in Dubai; ultimately, they moved it to Malaysia, and Urs Tinner went to Malaysia to set up this plant to manufacture the components for centrifuges for Libya.
When Urs Tinner first went to Dubai, the CIA -- wand we know the name of the agent, but at the risk of outing a covert CIA agent, which has its own baggage, we just refer to him in here by his off nickname, which is "Mad Dog." Mad Dog was tasked out of the Vienna station at the CIA to recruit Urs. They found some compromising information on Urs and Mad Dog was able to persuade him, through a series of conversations in Dubai, to begin turning over information about the network to the CIA. This was in either late '99 or more likely early 2000.
It was a critical moment. The United States had watched Khan's network, and we think not paid significant attention to it, at least on the policy side, for more than 20 years by that time. But, you know, there were greater concerns at this point when they found out that Libya was getting all of this nuclear equipment. And so that's a big success. That's the successful part. I think there were, however, some mixed results, because what you want to do is look at how they handled this intelligence and whether they took appropriate and timely action on this intelligence. And there was, we know from conversations with people within the Bush administration, who were read up on this, that there were some people who were pushing for an immediate shutdown of Khan's network at that point. He was still providing technology to North Korea for uranium enrichment and he was really ramping up in Libya. And yet the argument that prevailed in the administration was to wait and to watch. And the rationale there was that they wanted to make sure they could get every bit of the network. And so they were collecting more and more information. In fact, I think that wound up -- we concluded that wound up being shortsighted, because during the interim, between when Urs Tinner was recruited and was telling the CIA great deals about what was going into Libya, and December 2003, when Qhadafi opened the doors to his secret nuclear factories and warehouses, Libya had received the detailed plans for a Chinese nuclear warhead. They were kept in two shopping bags in the office of a scientist in Tripoli.
But the question that we raise in the book is, and the question that was in the minds of IAEA inspectors when they saw these very detailed and complete plans, was, you know, "Who made copies? You know, who else has these things?" And we subsequently found out also that Urs Tinner, after the seizure of the BBC China -- that's this ship that was carrying centrifuge equipment from Malaysia to Libya, and that was the seizure that really brought down the curtain on the Khan show -- after that seizure, but before Qhadafi went public, Urs Tinner pulled out of Malaysia. They began destroying records. He went to Dubai and worked to destroy records there.
But he was contacted by Khan at that time and told to make electronic copies of these Chinese warhead plans, and he sent one set of copies to Khan and he sent one set of copies to B.S.A. Tahir, who was Khan's Sri Lankan sort of chief of staff running things in Dubai. At that time Tahir had fled to Malaysia, where he thought he would be protected but where, in fact, he remains in jail.
You know, so it was -- the CIA penetration was a fascinating look at a success for us, but I think it's also a success that is seriously tainted, because I think it should have provided and probably provided enough information to have moved faster.
COLLINS: And there's another funny thing about this story, because it's proof of how difficult it is to close down all the tendrils of the network. I went to Switzerland after the Tinners were arrested, all three of them, the father and the two sons, and tracked down their factory and the people who worked there and the rest of his family. And in Switzerland, you cannot talk about an ongoing investigation, so it was difficult to get people to talk too much.
But Urs Tinner's sister, Sonja, talked about having A.Q. Khan visit their home and have dinners there. But more interestingly, she was keeping the business up and running and later talking to a Swiss official who worked for their Economics Ministry who was talking about the difficulty in balancing a country's security interests and economics interests. He had there in front of him on his desk a request by Urs Tinner's sister Sonja to export certain items to Pakistan. And she was still up and running.
COLL: Just a reminder, as you ask your questions, please wait for a microphone and identify yourself.
Selig, do you want to go first?
QUESTIONER: Selig Harrison, the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.
Musharraf, in his memoirs, has said that Pakistan gave nearly two dozen centrifuges to North Korea, including some B-2s. Were you able to develop anything that you've either put in the book or could tell us today that goes beyond what Musharraf said -- that is to say, that authenticates it and fleshes it out? What do we know about what Pakistan did with respect to North Korea? And to what extent do we just have Musharraf's words in the book?
Second question, related to this, is why, in your assessment, Musharraf won't let us get to him? Most of us have assumed it had to do with bodies being buried and Musharraf's implication in all this, and so forth. But we don't know anything. And I'd be very interested in knowing what your assessment of this is, based on your work in Pakistan and so forth.
And finally, to what extent has the United States made a serious effort to get to him, or to find out any other ways, from General Kidwai and others who are doing the briefing, what can be put forward to substantiate what they've said so that it can be used effectively in the negotiations with North Korea now?
FRANTZ: That's an excellent point. Let me try and tackle the North Korea part. I think, at the very least, the people we've talked to, the intelligence agents and the people who have seen records of the shipments that Pakistan made to North Korea, at the very least Musharraf has given us the bottom end of what they provided, of what Khan provided to North Korea.
The problem with North Korea, as you well know, Selig, is that it's an opaque place. The United States has never gotten good intelligence out of North Korea. I mean, it's just a big blind spot. Nobody really knows what's going on in there. So I think, you know, we know that Khan sent a minimum of two dozen centrifuges over there, including P2s. We also know that he --
QUESTIONER: (Off mike.)
FRANTZ: Well, we have Musharraf's word, and we also have -- we have some invoices that we've seen that were collected by the IAEA investigators as part of their larger investigation. We also have -- the relationship with North Korea was strong enough between them that Khan was able to persuade them to provide some uranium hexafluoride to the Libyan program. And we've seen the actual invoices for some of those shipments.
QUESTIONER: From North Korea to Libya?
FRANTZ: From North Korea to Libya.
QUESTIONER: (Off mike.)
FRANTZ: No, no -- from North Korea to Libya. They first popped up when the IAEA inspectors began going over the Libyan nuclear program in early 2004. So, you know, but the question is, of course, what did North Korea do with that technology? And I think there's plenty of reason to believe that somewhere they have at least the beginnings of a secret uranium enrichment program.
It's a country of mountains and tunnels. They have entire factories hidden in tunnels and mountains, as you know. And I think the fact that we're so blind, as far as intelligence goes there, means that this is one of the challenges when we try to verify North Korea's compliance with the new agreement.
QUESTIONER: (Off mike.)
FRANTZ: From centrifuges. No, but --
QUESTIONER: The IAEA has invoices?
FRANTZ: No, no. The invoices that they have are the -- I've got to think about this a second here. The invoices that they have have to do with the transshipment of uranium hexafluoride from North Korea to Libya. I do not believe -- I should restate. I don't think they have invoices of shipments from Pakistan to North Korea. They also have bank records showing substantial payments going to a North Korean used bank, a bank that's used by the North Korean military in Macau, related to the payments for these shipments of uranium hexafluoride. We have some of that detail in the book.
COLL: I want to make sure that other people have a chance to get their questions in. But he did ask two others that maybe you could give a consolidated response to which involved your assumption about why Musharraf has shielded A.Q. Khan from direct question and whether the United States has made an aggressive effort to penetrate that shield that Musharraf has put up.
COLLINS: I think that there's more than one reason for this. First of all, we've been told that the network or other networks or elements of the network are still up and running and being used by Pakistan for their program.
But the more interesting issue is, I guess, perhaps one of sovereignty and, you know, trying to imagine it from Pakistan's side, the American side demanding to interview Khan or question Khan is a very difficult issue politically, I suspect. And A.Q. Khan was at one point an extremely popular person, viewed as a national hero. And if you go to Pakistan, or in the years past when you'd go to Pakistan, you'd see those wonderful (trucks ?) beautifully decorated as an icon to him. And outside of Islamabad, there's a whole mountain memorial to his efforts, memorializing his efforts.
He remains, even today, enormously popular. And it would be very difficult, I think, for Musharraf to make him available to American investigators or people to question him. Perhaps the other option is to make him available to a third party, like the IAEA. But that's, you know, briefly what I'm assuming.
Those of you who want to ask questions may be following his practice of tilting your cards up so I can keep it simple. Thank you.
QUESTIONER: I just came from a book reception John Bolton had. (Laughter.) You should probably meet him, if you haven't recently. There's a stunning amount of agreement about certain things; disagreement about others. But it's interesting what he agrees about.
Second, I have two questions. First, I noticed you cited "The Islamic Bomb." And it was a book which, in its time, was perhaps like this, you know; quite interesting, revealing. But for some reason, despite the efforts of some of us to put a spotlight on that work, it was like flatulence in a crowded room. I mean, they heard it, but they acted like it never was published.
Now, if you're lucky, you may have the same fate. You'll sell a lot of books and nobody will notice after it's been sold. But I'm curious if you have any insight, given the history that you wrote since that was published, as to maybe why that didn't get the kind of attention you would have thought it would. That's question number one.
And then question number two, I noticed that you referred to one of his daughters, Khan's daughters, in Europe. I've always wondered just where is she. How hard do they try to talk to her? I mean, she's not in Pakistan. Did they just ask her if she had anything to share? Did they lock the door and say, "You're not getting out until you talk"? I mean, how does it work? And has anyone seen her? Did you ever interview her? What's the story?
COLLINS: She won't see people. But --
QUESTIONER: Well, I mean, maybe someone should see her. (Laughs.)
FRANTZ: She won't see people like us.
COLLINS: Maybe you could try. (Laughs.)
QUESTIONER: It is peculiar. You would think people would want to know.
COLLINS: There was an interesting story one of his former colleagues told me that Khan had written a 100-page autobiography of sorts or an accounting of his career in Pakistan and that he had given it to Dina -- right? -- Dina -- for safekeeping.
And this man had actually read it, because he has excellent English and is a wonderful writer, and Khan wanted his input. But when he was arrested, he had a code with her after he was questioned, and it broke down. He had a code with her in order to allow her to know she should turn it over, and he called and he spoke to her three times in Urdu and Dutch --
FRANTZ: And English.
COLLINS: -- and English. And three times he said, "You must turn this over." I guess that's what was --
FRANTZ: Destroy it.
COLLINS: Destroy it. And she has. And she has issued statements, you know, every once in a while concerning her father's innocence and her belief that he's been made to be a scapegoat. She's in London.
QUESTIONER: (Off mike.)
FRANTZ: I don't know.
COLLINS: I don't know.
FRANTZ: That's a good question, Henry.
QUESTIONER: Probably holds a Dutch passport, I would think, since her mother was -- (inaudible).
FRANTZ: We've been trying to persuade him to spend some time on this.
QUESTIONER: (Off mike.)
FRANTZ: Yes. Yeah, let me -- "The Islamic Bomb" came out in 1981 or '82, and it really was quite prescient. I mean, you can find enormous value in that book. I don't know why it sank as far as public popularity goes, but I think the impact was muted, because in the early 1980s certainly this country had no intention of cracking down on Pakistan's nuclear program. We were funneling millions of dollars through Pakistan into Afghanistan.
And so it was one of those periods in history where we turned our heads and said, you know, "You go ahead, do what you want to do on the nuclear front. Build this Islamic bomb. But just keep sending the weapons and the money into the Mujj in Afghanistan." And I think that's what really muted the impact of that book, Henry. And it was really a terrific book; it is.
COLLINS: And there's a funny story about that book. Is that okay? It's a little off topic, but I don't think anyone has ever told it before. When I was in Pakistan interviewing Pervez Hedboi (sp), I noticed on his desk he had a copy of that book. And I said, "You have that book. I didn't think you could get it in Pakistan." He said, "There's a very strange story behind this book." And apparently it had been delivered to him years after it was published by a man wearing a black motorcycle helmet, riding a motorcycle, and he handed this package, wrapped in brown paper, handed him a package, and he drove off.
And Pervez opened it up, and there was this forbidden book. And it was delivered in a similar fashion, he said, to a couple of thousand people in the country. And he read it over the years and he thought it was just a little off, and he couldn't figure out why this was such an important book abroad, because it seemed to say very peculiar things. And so I asked if I could open it up and take a look at it.
And I had just finished it and, in fact, read the section on Pakistan a couple of times, and I realized it didn't look like quite the same book. And so I asked him if I could borrow it for a couple of hours, and I went to a photocopying place and photocopied the chapters on Pakistan and then gave them to a friend, who's a diplomat, to take them out of the country for me.
And when I got back to Istanbul, where I was living at the time, we went through them line for line and I found more than a hundred changes to the original copy. And they were done so well that you could hardly notice. Sometimes the leading was a tiny bit off. And later on someone from Pakistani intelligence told us that this is one of their great coups, that they were able to republish this book in a way that was very complimentary to Dr. A.Q. Khan, highly critical of Munir Khan, and, in fact, the fake copies of the book exist in libraries now around the world, and nobody knows.
COLL: We have three questions on this side of the table. That's an amazing story. We'll start in the back and come forward.
QUESTIONER: Based on your research, what is your sense as to -- and understanding, as you do, the Iranian program, what is your sense of whether Iran has definitely made the decision to acquire a bomb? And second, is it realistic to think that we can stop them, short of invasion?
FRANTZ: Big question. I think that we both believe, and I hope we provide convincing evidence in this book, that Iran is intent on developing the capability to have a nuclear weapon -- the capability. Whether they go up to that last point and turn the final screw or not, you know, I don't know, but I'm convinced. And we spent an enormous amount of time on this.
I worked on this book off and on for over four years, and we did a couple of hundred interviews. And I think that almost everyone we talked to said privately that Iran is intent on having the capability of producing a nuclear weapon. I just -- there was -- it's an interesting -- I can't remember whether we kept it in the book or not -- but there was a nuclear weapons expert working at the IAEA who wrote a report in the mid -- must have been mid-2004, which concluded and laid out enormous evidence, saying that Iran is on a weapons program.
So I believe the answer is yes, they are intending to have the capability. And regardless, we need to treat them as though they are.
And then the second question, Ambassador Graham, is sort of the more difficult one. How can they be stopped, or can they? And I don't think they can be stopped, frankly. And I'm not convinced that an invasion would stop them. And I think I can certainly speak for Cathy, too, that that would be a very bad idea.
And, I mean, we've had -- I've had many conversations with Israeli intelligence and Israeli military intelligence. You know, and at one point I thought they were within weeks of going in. But obviously they've pulled back. And, you know, I think that we're going to have to find a way to live with a nuclear-capable Iran. Whether they actually go to the bomb or not, I don't know.
QUESTIONER: Tom Cochran, NRDC.
A couple of quick questions. The Kutarli (sp) Electric Company -- weren't there 164 centrifuges behind the false wall before they cleaned that?
FRANTZ: Yeah. Oh, yeah. They were doing -- that's where they had from -- it must have been the late '80s until early 2002, after it was exposed. That was their sort of main enrichment facility.
QUESTIONER: Okay. And since you would use a different number of machines in a stage for enriching to 90 percent or so versus 4 percent, is there any evidence in any of the Iranian material in terms of how their plans for staging that are inconsistent with 4 percent?
And lastly -- and this is sort of a follow-up to Tom's question -- if you were asked to lay out, point by point, the evidence that Iran's program was nuclear, what would your key points be? And in that regard, I've always been struck by the fact that their first meeting with A.Q. Khan occurred in the middle of -- or the year following the Iraq-Iran war and the Bushehr reactor had already been bombed three times. And it seems strange to build an enrichment plant to supply fuel to a facility that had just been bombed out.
FRANTZ: Let me try to tackle your last question, because it's certainly important. And it makes me realize, Tom, that we need to get our dog-and-pony show probably down a little better. So we need to have three good, concise answers to a question like that and the points.
But I would just say that one is the concealment and the continuing deception of Iran. Now, that's circumstantial, but I think circumstantial is the best that we can do. I think that continuing concealment, not just the 18 years from '86 to 2002, or the 16 years, when they were working on it, but the continued concealment and deception, I think that says to lots of people who are involved that they're hiding something.
I think the military involvement at almost every level, including in those first meetings that they had, I think that's one of the points. And the third one, perhaps, is, in fact, Parchin, which is the site where they were testing conventional explosives in a pattern that seemed to indicate they were trying to get the timing and the triggering ready for going the next step toward a nuclear weapon.
You know, I should think about that better, because it's a really good question. And I don't think we have perhaps a convincing answer. But I think, after you've finished this book, you'll be at the same place we are.
QUESTIONER: Miles Pomper, Arms Control Today.
I just wanted to follow up on the earlier question from Selig Harrison, the first part, which you kind of answered one way and then kind of backed away from. On centrifuges, do we have anything beyond Musharraf's word, I mean, since it's an issue now in negotiations in what's kind of coming out about the declaration from the North Koreans? What evidence have you seen or is there about the transfers?
FRANTZ: Well, I mean, there have been people who participated in the network, in the Khan network, who have told IAEA investigators about material going to North Korea. They were aware of that. David Sanger, who's sitting in the back of the room, could probably answer this question as well or better than either of us. I mean, he wrote a story late 2002 or early 2003 -- which was it, David?
DAVID SANGER: I'm too old to remember.
FRANTZ: -- about U.S. intelligence seeing Pakistani cargo plans offloading what appeared to be centrifuge equipment in Pyongyang. You know, so don't think we have to take Musharraf's word for that. On the other hand, why not take Musharraf's word that they did that? I mean, it's not in his self-interest to blame A.Q. Khan or Pakistan for something they didn't do, frankly.
And I think one of the interesting and sort of counterintuitive elements of our book is that there's a chapter in there about Musharraf's attempt to rein in Khan, which went pretty far; obviously didn't go far enough until he came under pressure in late 2003 and early 2004 and couldn't stop. But soon after Musharraf took power, this was one of the items on his agenda, to rein in A.Q. Khan.
I mean, at that point they had everything they needed from A.Q. Khan. They had an established nuclear program, and it was certainly expendable. And I think Musharraf was concerned about ways that he might embarrass Pakistan.
COLLINS: But they didn't -- ultimately they didn't indict him at that point or charge him, because he was just too powerful. And they didn't believe -- the investigators, Musharraf didn't believe that they had the weight to carry it off successfully.
QUESTIONER: (Off mike.)
COLL: We have time, I think, for everyone who wants to ask a question to do so who's indicated that they're interested. So why don't we just continue in this pattern?
This is just a quick question, really a follow-on to Tom Cochran's, but it could reflect my unfamiliarity with the latest evidence. But is it true that there's no evidence yet that any of the (HEW ?) samples that were found in Iran are inconsistent with the story that they were contamination from Pakistani use of centrifuges, including the contamination at Kalia? Is that still the case?
FRANTZ: I don't -- some of the -- at Kalia, the HEW discovered there, I believe, has been matched up to the Pakistani samples. Pakistan ultimately provided some components from some centrifuge components that were tested at the IAEA lab outside Vienna, and there was a match there. But there was a lower-enriched uranium contamination that they found, and I'm thinking it was at Natanz now, that remains unexplained, as far as I know -- yeah, as far as I know. So I think that's one of the questions that hasn't been answered quite fully.
But I don't think, on the other hand, that the IAEA or anyone else has discovered evidence that Iran enriched uranium to a high level during those test days in the late '90s and early 2000.
COLL: We'll go back to this side of the room.
QUESTIONER: Turning back to Pakistan, I was going to say that one of the things before Khan's international network, they ran what was the largest global banking network, which had illicit trade, black money and drug trade, BCCI, that even had branches that, in fact, had a subsidiary in the United States, American bank. And we did, at the end, come back with some congressional reforms on the banking sector and other financial -- (inaudible) -- sector in the global commerce.
My question to you is, we seem to be putting a lot of (onus ?) on the countries, obviously, what we can or cannot do with the countries. But I'm also equally concerned about how presidential certification in this country has been abused and misused. And I'm trying to find out what are we trying to do from a national perspective in preventing in the future? Because I'm really concerned that they will be always able to -- (inaudible) -- one time or the other.
How are we going to prevent this, since we have a very bad record through the administrations, no matter whether it's -- as you said, it started with the Democrats, and so it doesn't matter who's running power. But I think we need some kind of an understanding of how we prevent this abuse of presidential power.
COLLINS: It's not so much a question as a statement of fact. Yes, every administration has turned its back on this issue to one degree or another, because other issues have been deemed more important at the time.
What we have to do, I suppose, is to make proliferation the most important issue, or more important than the others. Until we do, this sort of thing will continue.
COLL: Keep moving down the table there.
QUESTIONER: Sharon Scorsani (sp) from the Carnegie Endowment.
I guess my question is sort of a follow-up to that one. John Bolton sat before Congress a couple of years ago and said, when he was asked point-blank, "Have you asked for access to Khan?" he said no. And Khan, I have it from a well-placed source, seems to be living in fear of going outside of his house, that the CIA is going to nab him.
I have a suspicion that the Pakistani officials have sort of planted this seed of suspicion in his mind -- (laughs) -- to keep him out of trouble. But in your book, have you, and in interviews perhaps with either CIA officials or U.S. officials, have you been -- have you uncovered that they actually did request access to Khan?
And I have one more question on the intel side. When you look at the priority of proliferation problems, you look at Iran and North Korea and Libya -- Iran, in terms of getting centrifuge enrichment technology -- I'd place Iran at the top of the list. I wouldn't worry too much about Libya because they never had a very good program anyway. North Korea already has weapons. So especially this administration, why would you care?
So my question is, in terms of intel, was there a difference in terms of the timing of the CIA linking Khan to Iran versus linking Khan to Libya or North Korea?
COLLINS: Should I do the first?
COLLINS: The last we've been told was that no one was pursuing him anymore, pursuing that avenue of talking to him. Having driven by Khan's house several times, he's under heavy guard. It's a lovely home surrounded by very high walls and trees shaped like mushroom clouds. (Laughter.) But there are a lot of police there. You're not allowed to walk by the house. You're not allowed to stop in a car. You're not allowed to photograph it.
So I don't think he -- at least when I was there, he was certainly not able to leave. But he's always pointed the finger at the Americans and the CIA wanting to get to him. But I don't think that the Pakistanis want him wandering around either.
FRANTZ: Yeah. And as far as the access, yeah, I think you're right. And I would take Bolton at his word that they never directly asked. And isn't that a shame? But we know the IAEA asked repeatedly. We know the IAEA sent down 52 questions in the end, when it appeared they weren't going to get personal access to him. And they got back some answers, but not all.
COLLINS: I think nine, they said.
FRANTZ: Yeah. Anyway, so -- and then on your second question, if I understand it, certainly Iran is a much higher priority than Libya. Libya was easier, in a sense, because I think Qhadafi had been trying to surrender for 10 years. He wanted to find a way to get back into the international community. I think, however, that his program was surprisingly more advanced than the United States expected. I think equipment had gotten in there, and they were a little surprised. But they were years and years away from a bomb. You're exactly right. Iran is the higher priority.
And it's unclear to us, I think, how much actual hard intelligence the CIA has now about Iran's program. Clearly they have known about Khan's relationship with them since the late 1980s. I mean, one of the people we interviewed was Bob Einhorn, whom most of you know. And Bob came in in '89 as an assistant secretary at the State Department, and he got read in on all the traffic, and he told us that it was clear that the CIA knew Khan was providing some material, some nuclear material, to Iran in the late '80s, but they chose to underestimate Khan's skills, I think, as they did, in some ways, in looking at Pakistan's program. They underestimated his skills.
And now I think that there's a unanimous position that Khan gave Iran a head start that has put them far further along than they would have been now. I think there were various points where Khan's supplies to Iran could have been stopped. I mean, Jim Hoagland wrote a piece in The Washington Post in the mid-1990s pointing out some of Khan's help to Iran. I mean, it wasn't a big secret, but it was just one that we chose to ignore.
QUESTIONER: I don't know if you saw it when you were in Vienna, but Laura Rockwood actually has one of the clocks in her office from -- (inaudible).
My question is -- it's similar to what you just answered, but maybe you can be a little more specific, which is, in the early 1990s it was clear to the Americans -- Steve, I think you and I were in the same room together when we were told they were a screwdriver away from having a bomb at that point, or having a device at that point.
So my question is -- your subtitle is "And How We Could Have Stopped Him." How soon could we have stopped him? How soon was there enough knowledge, looking back now, that it should have been clear that he was taking this technology, taking this information, taking this expertise and shuttling it around the world?
And the second question, which sort of related to that, which is, if he was so good, why have the Iranians been doing this for 20 years and they've still only got 3,000 centrifuges?
COLLINS: We might answer the first part of that differently, but they knew that Khan was taking the technology out of the Netherlands in the mid-1970s. The CIA knew. The Dutch security knew. And they opted then to let him walk with that.
I mean, I would argue, why would you allow someone to do that? So that is the first time when he could have been stopped. He traveled throughout Europe throughout the early '80s. I mean, I have some of his personal letters where he talks about traveling to Canada and the States and the UK and throughout Europe. He could have been stopped doing his buying at any point along the way. And in 1987, he published an interview in which he claimed that they were nuclear-ready, in order to, I guess at that time, to give a warning to the Indians. But they've known a long time.
FRANTZ: Yeah. And as far as his supplying other countries, you know, specifically Iran, North Korea and Libya, I think we've gone over that ground some, Bob. But in '87-'88, when they found out he was helping Iran, I don't believe that the administration was inclined to upset Pakistan at that point. And I think they also, as I said, underestimated Khan's ability.
As far as why it's taken the Iranians so long, you know, they had to do it in secret. You know, Pakistan's nuclear program was not much of a secret. You know, you'll find U.S. intelligence reports, State Department reports, that have been declassified from '77, '78, pointing out exactly what Pakistan was doing. You know, so that was not a secret. And they had mobilized enormous parts of their meager technical infrastructure to build that bomb.
And the United States, beginning with Jimmy Carter in December 1979, when he lifted the sanctions on Pakistan, you know, from then on the United States chose to put other strategic interests ahead of stopping Pakistan's bomb. I think Iran was forced to operate more under the radar. It's made it more difficult, taken them longer.
I would also, you know, suggest that maybe we don't know exactly how far along Iran is. I mean, there's some evidence, not conclusive by any means, but there's some evidence that there may be a parallel military program that exists in concealment alongside what's happening at Natanz and Bushehr and the Tehran research center.
COLL: I just wanted to ask one last question as we wrap up -- or Charles, you wanted to ask a question? Good.
QUESTIONER: Thanks, Steve. Charles Ferguson.
I'm thinking about that old saying about "Fool me once" and "Fool me twice." And I'm thinking about the future and lessons learned people can get from your book, looking at the Khan network and our experience with that, and especially the failures and not acting quickly enough to stop it.
And now, looking at the buzz about a nuclear renaissance and the worries in the Middle East and the larger region about Iran's nuclear program -- and just in the past year or two we see numerous Arab states expressing interest in peaceful nuclear energy -- just looking at the region in particular and also thinking in general about the globe and what we face in the coming decades, what can we do to ensure we won't get fooled again when it comes to new nuclear black markets emerging? What do we need to do? You hinted at things we need to do to strengthen the IAEA. But what more should we be doing? Thank you.
COLLINS: I think your question goes to human nature. ElBaradei said a couple of years ago that there are -- what is it -- 30 nations now that are nuclear-ready, could flip the switch and go nuclear overnight. And maybe we don't care if Canada goes nuclear, but a lot of these countries, if they go nuclear, there will be a domino effect, and many countries would follow them, and it would change the whole equation.
So it all depends on what your politics are, I suppose. I would think that we have to start treating our friends the same as we treat our enemies, that there has to be some equity and equality in the way we deal with this issue around the world.
FRANTZ: And I think there may be -- you know, ElBaradei has come up with a fairly concrete solution, which is to centralize the fuel supplies. And so you take that away. Now, lots of the have-not countries are not going to go for that. That's a difficult bargain to strike. You know how it is, Ambassador Graham. It's very difficult to get them to give up a right that they already have.
But that may be the only solution, because if we see one thing from history, Charles, from recent history with nukes, it is that the line between a civilian program and a military program is very blurred. And everybody who claims to be building a civilian -- not everybody, but everybody who has built a nuclear weapon has first said that it was for civilian uses. India said that. Pakistan said that. Iran is saying that now. South Africa said that. I mean, if you look at those states, you know, the civilian program becomes a (beard ?), in a sense, for a nuclear weapons program. And so what you have to do is apply the controls to the civilian program. You have to have a new tougher set of controls. And I don't say that lightly, because I know it's going to be really hard.
COLLINS: And the nuclear haves are starting to explore new nuclear weapons, too, and that's bound to upset the balance, I think.
QUESTIONER: (Off mike.)
COLLINS: It's coming to you.
FRANTZ: Coming behind you.
QUESTIONER: (Inaudible) -- about how difficult it will be to persuade countries to give up the right to enrichment. And it will. Look at Brazil. Look at Canada and so forth. But there are a number of countries that don't have nuclear power now that really want it and don't want weapons. And I think many of them may be willing to make that kind of deal. And we should ask them to make that kind of deal.
COLL: Well, I regard it as remarkable that a seminar built around this subject could end on an optimistic note. (Laughter.) So I'm going to take that observation.
I was just sitting here, if I could, just in closing, and congratulate you. I think lots of people in your line of endeavor would reflect on what I was formulating as I was listening to the two of you interact so respectfully and successfully, which is sort of a four-part syllogism. It's really hard to write a book. It's even harder to write a book with another person. Marriage is hard work. It must be really hard to write a book successfully with your spouse, but you've done it. And so how did that happen, in a word?
FRANTZ: Respect -- mutual respect.
COLL: Good. Well, congratulations.
Thanks, everybody, for coming. (Applause.)
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