'They sold out the world for an F-16 sale'
In the era of Ronald Reagan, intelligence officer Richard Barlow was an analyst for the CIA, monitoring Pakistan's nuclear program. In 1989, he moved over to the Pentagon, where he worked for then-Secretary of Defense Richard Cheney. Barlow lost that job when he raised objections to his bosses about senior Pentagon officials allegedly lying to Congress concerning Pakistan’s emerging nuclear program.How do we like this?
In 1975, Pakistani scientist AQ Khan “acquired” nuclear blueprints from his Dutch employer and was immediately put in charge of Pakistan's nuclear program. In 1988, Pakistan would detonate its first atomic bomb.
Former Dutch Prime Minister Ruud Lubbers has said that the CIA was monitoring Khan from the beginning. He asserts that the US turned down offers to detain Khan in 1975 and 1986 because they wanted to “gain more information” about the scientist’s activities.
Intelligence information later showed that the US and its allies allowed Pakistan to clandestinely acquire most of the technology for its nuclear program from abroad, unwittingly facilitating the spread of nuclear weapons technology to Iran, North Korea and Libya over the past several decades.
When Richard Barlow joined the CIA in 1985 as a counter-proliferation intelligence officer with particular expertise on Pakistan, he quickly realized that Pakistan was continuing to develop its nuclear program, and that some of its clandestine and illegal procurement activity was occurring within the US.
It didn't take Barlow long to realize that US officials knew what Pakistan was doing. According to Barlow, individuals at the State Department later actively facilitated procurement, tipping off targets of sealed arrest warrants in undercover operations and illegally approving export licenses for restricted goods.
It gets even worse:
In 1987, Barlow engineered the arrest of some of Khan’s agents in the US as part of an undercover operation. He says the arrests came with the full support and knowledge of the highest levels of the CIA and the Reagan administration.Does that seem like an outrageous claim? Well, here's how they did it:
The arrest sparked a firestorm. Proof of Pakistan's proliferation activities would trigger the provisions of the the so-called Solarz Amendment and put an end to Pakistani aid.
Pakistan, Barlow said, had been breaking US nuclear export laws regularly since 1985, and the responsible individuals in the US intelligence and law enforcement communities knew it. Having just approved a multi-billion dollar aid package, Solarz and others in Congress—including Senator Larry Pressler, Chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee—were outraged to learn about Pakistan's violations of their laws. Solarz was appalled that information had been hidden from Congress.
In contrast, those who had willfully misled Congress were horrified that Barlow had told the truth. They tried to undercut Barlow's testimony but to no avail. Barlow’s classified testimony was unimpeachable.
In early 1989, after George H.W. Bush became president, Barlow joined the Pentagon’s Office of Non-Proliferation Policy—working under then-Defense Secretary Dick Cheney, then-Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Paul Wolfowitz, then-Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Policy Stephen Hadley, and then-Deputy Undersecretary of Defense Scooter Libby.
Barlow says he continued to be engaged in trying to arrest more Pakistani nuclear agents. He also claims there were other examples of officials lying to Congress about Pakistan's nuclear program in order to keep aid flowing, but now there was a significant difference: The Afghan war was over, so there was no Cold War “justification” for continuing to shovel money at Pakistan. This time, he believes, it was simply about profit.
"They sold out the world for an F-16 sale," Barlow says.
"[The Pakistanis] had nuclear weapons at the time, and we knew they did,” Barlow remarks. “The evidence was unbelievable. I can't go into it—but on a scale of 1 to 10, in terms of intelligence evidence, it was a 10 or 11. It doesn't get any better than that.”Well, that's the basic idea, anyway. For the full text and live links, please click here to read the original. A hearty tip of a frozen cap to Luke Ryland for this excellent work, another to RAW STORY for publishing it, and a third to Larisa Alexandrovna for bringing it to my attention via her excellent blog, At-Largely.
Barlow asserts that in 1988 and 1989, Presidents Reagan and George H. W. Bush illegally certified that Pakistan was free of nuclear weapons in order to keep funds flowing.
In the late eighties, Pakistan, trying to outmuscle India by injecting nuclear and air power steroids into their arms program, was seeking to buy 60 new F-16s worth $1.6 billion.
F-16 manufacturer General Dynamics desperately wanted the sale.
Unfortunately for the firm, Rep. Solarz and others in Congress expected assurances that the planes couldn't be used to drop nuclear weapons.
This was problematic: American intelligence knew that Pakistan had already made the minor modifications to their existing fleet of F-16s so that they could carry, and drop, nuclear weapons.
In fact, US and foreign intelligence and news reports indicated that the Pakistanis had in fact modified their F-16’s for nuclear delivery and had been conducting training exercises where they practiced dropping nuclear weapons from the F-16s. Nonetheless, Barlow says, Pentagon officials lied to Congress under oath, saying that the planes couldn't be used for nuclear purposes without a radical overhaul well beyond the industrial capabilities of Pakistan.
Barlow says he then learned that Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Arthur Hughes had delivered testimony willfully falsified by officials at the Office of the Secretary of Defense. He realized that Hughes had lied to Solarz' committee because earlier in 1989 he had prepared a comprehensive paper on this very issue for then-Defense Secretary Dick Cheney.
“All the top experts had looked at this question in detail for years, and it was a cold hard engineering question,” Barlow says. “There was no question about it—the jets could easily be made nuke-capable, and we knew that Pakistan had done just that."
Barlow says he tried again to inform his bosses that the congressional testimony was false. He was effectively fired two days later.
Three years later, Rep. Solarz told Sy Hersh, “If what Barlow says is true, this would have been a major scandal of Iran-Contra proportions, and the officials involved would have had to resign.”
After two decades of investigations by the CIA Inspector General, the Department of Justice Inspector General, the State Department Inspector General, a General Accounting Office investigation, and the public record, we now know that what Barlow was saying was true.
The officials involved didn't resign. They’ve been running the country for the last six years.
Speaking of excellent blogs, keep an eye on what Luke Ryland is doing at Wot Is It Good 4, Kill the Messenger, Let Sibel Edmonds Speak, and disclose, denny!