Deception: Pakistan, the United States, and the Secret Trade in Nuclear Weapons

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The shocking, three-decade story of A. Q. Khan and Pakistan's nuclear program, and the complicity of the United States in the spread of nuclear weaponry.

On December 15, 1975, A. Q. Khan—a young Pakistani scientist working in Holland—stole top-secret blueprints for a revolutionary new process to arm a nuclear bomb. His original intention, and that of his government, was purely patriotic—to provide Pakistan a counter to India's recently unveiled nuclear device. However, as Adrian...

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Overview

The shocking, three-decade story of A. Q. Khan and Pakistan's nuclear program, and the complicity of the United States in the spread of nuclear weaponry.

On December 15, 1975, A. Q. Khan—a young Pakistani scientist working in Holland—stole top-secret blueprints for a revolutionary new process to arm a nuclear bomb. His original intention, and that of his government, was purely patriotic—to provide Pakistan a counter to India's recently unveiled nuclear device. However, as Adrian Levy and Catherine Scott-Clark chillingly relate in their masterful investigation of Khan's career over the past thirty years, over time that limited ambition mushroomed into the world's largest clandestine network engaged in selling nuclear secrets—a mercenary and illicit program managed by the Pakistani military and made possible, in large part, by aid money from the United States, Saudi Arabia, and Libya, and by indiscriminate assistance from China.

Most unnerving, the authors reveal that the sales of nuclear weapons technology to Iran, North Korea, and Libya, so much in the news today, were made with the clear knowledge of the American government, for whom Pakistan has been a crucial buffer state and ally—first against the Soviet Union, now in the "war against terror." Every successive American presidency, from Jimmy Carter to George W. Bush, has turned a blind eye to Pakistan's nuclear activity—rewriting and destroying evidence provided by its intelligence agencies, lying to Congress and the American people about Pakistan's intentions and capability, and facilitating, through shortsightedness and intent, the spread of the very weapons we vilify the "axis of evil" powers for having and fear terrorists will obtain. Deception puts our current standoffs with Iran and North Korea in a startling new perspective, and makes clear two things: that Pakistan, far from being an ally, is a rogue nation at the epicenter of world destabilization; and that the complicity of the United States has ushered in a new nuclear winter.

Based on hundreds of interviews in the United States, Pakistan, India, Israel, Europe, and Southeast Asia, Deception is a masterwork of reportage and dramatic storytelling by two of the world's most resourceful investigative journalists. Urgently important, it should stimulate debate and command a reexamination of our national priorities.

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Editorial Reviews

Douglas Farah
Levy and Scott-Clark take the reader deep inside Khan's operations, including his extensive and previously unreported contacts with China, which gave him technical help beginning in the early 1980s. Their book also provides the fullest picture of Khan's turbulent family life, his constant tension with his wife, his extramarital affairs and even his visits to a psychiatrist, who noted that he seemed "eaten up...as if he was unable to sate his ambition."
—The Washington Post
Publishers Weekly

Earlier this year, William Langewiesche's The Atomic Bazaaralerted readers to the blind eye the United States and other nations have turned toward Pakistan's efforts to build a nuclear bomb and to sell that technology to other nations, including the entire "Axis of Evil." Levy and Scott-Clark (The Amber Room) work on a larger canvas, shaping their in-depth reporting into a compelling and more detailed narrative. They have not truly improved upon Langewiesche's portrait of A.Q. Khan, the metallurgist who became "Pakistan's biggest and most valuable personality" after smuggling atomic secrets out of the Netherlands. But they do substantially support the idea that the nuclear program influenced Pakistan's internal power struggles, and that American government officials led disinformation campaigns for 30 years in order to hang onto the nation as a dubious ally against first the Soviets and then al-Qaeda. The authors also hint at the possible involvement of Paul Wolfowitz and Scooter Libby in an attempt to discredit an intelligence analyst who spoke frankly of the Pakistani threat during the first Bush administration. Building on a decade's worth of interviews, the husband-and-wife investigative term serve a stunning indictment of "the nuclear crime of all our lifetimes," in which, the authors claim, the U.S. has been an active accessory. (Oct.)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Kirkus Reviews
British journalists Levy and Scott-Clark (The Amber Room: The Fate of the World's Greatest Lost Treasure, 2004, etc.) offer persuasive evidence that the United States looked the other way for years while Pakistan developed a nuclear bomb and exported weapons technology to Iran, North Korea and other enemies of the West. In the early 1970s, write the authors, Pakistani scientist A.Q. Khan stole European centrifuge technology to enrich uranium and developed his secret research laboratory in Kahuta. Years later, the mercurial Khan would give a sham public confession to having run a black market in nuclear weapons on his own, when in fact he worked for Pakistan's military government. The authors provide detailed accounts of Khan's dealings with Western suppliers, his relations with a succession of his country's leaders and his wooing of customers in "Axis of Evil" and other nations. Most alarming in this mind-boggling expose are the deliberate efforts by U.S. administrations from Jimmy Carter to George W. Bush to conceal the fact that Pakistan even had a nuclear bomb. Needing the Pakistanis as allies against the Soviets in Afghanistan and later in the "war on terror," the presidents lied to Congress that the Islamic nation had no nuclear weapons (making it possible to give Pakistan billions of dollars in aid, some of which Khan diverted to his nuclear program), helped Pakistan circumvent laws against procurement in the United States and destroyed documents that might shed light on the situation, all the while touting a non-proliferation policy. The silencing of former CIA and Pentagon analyst Richard Barlow, the leading in-house expert on Pakistan's weapons program, who fought to bring thetruth to Congress, is one of many outrages recounted in this tale of expediency run amok. The authors also note that the "greatest nuclear scandal of our age" continues, with Pakistan still buying and selling nuclear technology, heightening American vulnerability to nuclear terrorism. Simultaneously astonishing, maddening and absolutely frightening.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781428170346
  • Publisher: Recorded Books, LLC
  • Publication date: 11/20/2007

Meet the Author

Adrian Levy and Catherine Scott-Clark are internationally renowned and award-winning investigative journalists who worked as staff writers and foreign correspondents for the Sunday Times of London for seven years before joining the Guardian as senior correspondents. They are the authors of two highly acclaimed books, The Amber Room: The Fate of the World's Greatest Lost Treasure, and The Stone of Heaven: Unearthing the Secret History of Imperial Green Jade. They have reported from South Asia for more than a decade, and now live in London and in France.

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Table of Contents


List of Maps     ix
List of Illustrations     xi
Acknowledgments     xiii
Maps     xvii
Introduction: The Core     1
The Angry Young Man     11
Operation Butter Factory     32
Into the Valley of Death     51
Peanuts     72
The Ties That Bind     84
A Figment of the Zionist Mind     99
A Bomb for the Ummah     124
The Pineapple Upside-Down Cake     138
The Winking General     155
Gangsters in Bangles     175
A Guest of the Revolutionary Guard     195
Project A/B     214
Chestnuts and Steamed Fish     238
A New Clear Vision     264
The Window of Vulnerability     286
Mush and Bush     315
Mission Accomplished     352
They Have Fed Us to the Dogs     371
New Think     395
Awakening     429
Principal Characters     451
List of Abbreviations and Acronyms     459
Notes     461
Bibliography     545
Index     549
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