Nuclear Horse Out of the Barn

This is a partial transcript of "Special Report with Brit Hume", Feb. 9, that has been edited for clarity.

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ABDUL QADEER KHAN, NUCLEAR SCIENTIST, PAKISTAN: It pains me to realize in retrospect, that my entire lifetime achievement of providing foolproof national security to my nation, could have been placed in serious jeopardy on account of my activities, which were based in good faith, but on errors of judgment, related to unauthorized proliferation activities.


BRIT HUME, HOST: That was Dr. A.Q. Khan (search), father of Pakistan's nuclear weapons program, who it turns out had been selling secrets to such places as Libya and North Korea. Having confessed to his nation, he's now been pardoned by Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf (search). The U.S., which pressed Pakistan to clamp down on Khan, seemed satisfied. So what is going on here?

Well, who better to answer than our own Fox News foreign analyst Mansoor Ijaz, who is of Pakistani descent and who had a role in all of this. He joins us tonight from Ankara, Turkey.

Good evening, Mansoor. Tell us about what happened here?

MANSOOR IJAZ, FOX NEWS FOREIGN POLICY ANALYST: Well, thank you Brit. I think my part in this started in the summer of 2000, as I was negotiating the cease-fire in Kashmir. And as I came into contact with certain elements of the Jihadi groups in Pakistan and members of the intelligence services there, it became very clear to me that a widespread metastasis of Pakistan's nuclear technology was, in fact, taking place to countries that they should never been doing it with.

I immediately then briefed Sandy Berger (search), our national security adviser at that time, other members of the senior National Security Council staff.

And we did this again when the Bush administration came into office in 2001, with a number of the people at the State Department, the Defense Intelligence Agency, the National Security Council and so forth.

So I would say that we certainly gave them a lot of data and information: names, places, times of meetings, dates, people that were involved in these meetings, countries that were involved, other officials and so forth, to make sure that we were, you know, well on the way to unraveling what Dr. Khan had done. Which I think is just an absolutely unforgivable sin.

HUME: Now, having done that, we now know from other reporting that once the administration has established that everything you were telling them was true to their satisfaction, they pressed Pervez Musharraf to crack down on this and deal with Dr. Khan and so on.

IJAZ: Yes.

HUME: Can we assume that Dr. Khan has stopped doing what he was doing, Point 1?

IJAZ: Well, I think that the nuclear horse is out of barn. The real question now is whether or not we can get in this little horse trade and very well orchestrated pardon that took place last week.

Whether or not we can get the information out of Pervez Musharraf's government about precisely where the tentacles of this nuclear black market extended to.

Now, they didn't have control over everything, I grant them that; but they know enough. And the nerve center was right there in Pakistan and Dubai and other places, where the transit forces were and so forth that we have to get that information out of them.

Because the problem here is very simple. The terrorists and people that they gave this to that should not have these types of weapons capabilities, now know we have got their number. Which means that if they've got anything, they're going to want to speed up the timetable over which they try to use it, because they don't want anybody to be able to get their hands on the stuff that took them so long to be able to get into the place.

HUME: Question. What about this pardon? Why did Musharraf feel called upon to pardon the guy after what you described as an "unforgivable sin?"

IJAZ: Well, let's assume for the moment that Pervez Musharraf continues to work with the United States government quietly behind the scenes. This weekend, it was reported that the last several months, an anti-proliferation -- a secret team anti-proliferation has been in place in Pakistan helping to secure its nuclear materials. But that's only half the problem.

The other half of the problem is that we've got to make sure that we find out where the hell all of this other stuff went. And in that context, I think, Pervez Musharraf's pardon may yet still be folly.

As I understand it, he's only given a legal pardon for very specific circumstances that Khan outlined in his confessional statement. If they find things outside of that, Khan still may be on the hook. And they still may be able to prosecute him for something else later on.

HUME: So he is under some pressure as a result of the terms of this pardon to come clean with everything he knows. Is that the idea?

IJAZ: And I think we ought to -- absolutely. And I think we ought to impose more pressure on him. If I were President Bush, I would go to Congress tomorrow and immediately announce, unconditionally and without any notice to Pakistan, that the $3 billion aid package, that the American taxpayers are footing the bill for, is now put on hold until General Musharraf provides all the evidence that is necessary.

Everything is out in the open. Colin Powell can give the affidavit for that when he goes out there in two weeks. And then ensure that they have brought in all the nuclear safeguards in to protect their information and their technology, and nuclear weapons and so forth. Because it wasn't just nuclear fuel cycles that they were building.

We found out from Libya -- we have got the evidence in our hands now that Khan was actually giving bomb designs, giving the blueprints for how to make them and the components for how to build warheads. Now you can't get any worse than that in terms of proliferation, in terms of what goes on around the world.

HUME: But if we did that, wouldn't that complicate our current, ongoing cooperation with Pakistan in the search, for example, for Usama bin Laden (search)?

IJAZ: Well, Brit, I'm afraid that this now comes to a very difficult point at which I would have to say that the larger problem that we're dealing with is preventing the advent of radiological, dirty bombs popping up in places all over the world. Because the bad guys have them, they know how to use them.

And they want to get out there and get them done before - - you know, explode them and detonate them before we get our hands on where they are. In that context, I would say that we have got a much higher magnitude problem of trying to control them than we do worrying about al Qaeda.

HUME: If I say Libya, North Korea, Iran. Is that about complete the list, real quick?

IJAZ: I'm afraid not. There are at least three more countries that I can tell you for sure are on the list.

HUME: Got to take a break.

IJAZ: I can't tell you which ones because of the investigations...

HUME: Got to take a break. Thank you, Mansoor. All best to you. Got to take a break. Thanks for coming in so late at night over there.

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