June 16th, 2008
11:30 AM ET
6 years ago

Roberts: The Nightmare Scenario

CNN

Watch John Roberts' interview with David Albright.

(CNN) - For rogue nations pursuing nuclear weapons, the huge hurdle - and therefore the saving grace of the rest of the world - has been the challenge to build a device that can be mounted atop a missile. Plans that had been peddled by the infamous A.Q. Khan network - while potentially devastating in their destructive power - by and large had been thought to be rather primitive in their construction and unwieldy in their delivery capability.

Now, however, comes word from former UN weapons inspector David Albright that the Khan network had plans for an advanced weapons system that might fit onto the sort of missiles possessed by North Korea and Iran.

Albright told me this morning that the blueprints were "Quite advanced. Basically designs from Pakistan's nuclear arsenal". And, says Albright, the type of designs Pakistan insisted Khan did not take from that nation's nuclear arsenal.

Plans for the weapons systems were allegedly found in the possession of Friedrich, Marco and Urs Tinner, a Swiss father and his two sons believed to be associated with the A.Q. Khan network. Did any of this technology actually make its way to rogue states? Impossible to know, according to Albright. The Tinners, he says "are not co-operating with the prosecutors. Khan is not co-operating. One of the key questions is did Iran buy these designs? Does it in that sense know more about making nuclear weapons than the public realizes?"

The U.S. government and its closest allies have known about these blueprints for a couple of years. Which is, perhaps, why the Administration has been so aggressive in putting the screws to Iran to come clean about its nuclear program, and why Israeli officials have been making overt threats to Iran. The public, through Albright's investigation, is only learning about it now.

And Albright is pursuing the issue with urgency. The Tinners, he fears, could soon be released from a Swiss jail. A.Q. Khan, who has been under house arrest - and who claimed in a CNN interview that he was merely a "fall guy" - may soon be released from house arrest in Islamabad. Khan, he says, needs to be interviewed by the United States. Pakistan has so far refused. The Tinners, he says, need to be prosecuted.

If Iran is pursuing a military nuclear program, as the U.S. and its allies claim, the blueprints for this advanced weapons system could give Iran "a great shortcut to making smaller nuclear weapons" according to Albright. "I think we should be troubled", he says, "troubled on many levels."


Filed under: John Roberts
soundoff (125 Responses)
  1. Luis

    I saw a recent poll that said 10 out of 10 idiots endorse Obama!!

    Came from a source as reliable as the Liberal Media so it must be gospel. Oh and perhaps his thank you note looks like this:

    My fellow Americans:

    As your future President I want to thank my supporters, for your mindless support of me, despite my complete lack of any legislative achievement, my pastor's relations with Louis Farrakhan and Libyan dictator Moammar Quadafi, or my blatantly leftist voting record while I present myself as some sort of bi-partisan agent of change.

    I also like how my supporters claim my youthful drug use and criminal behavior somehow qualifies me for the Presidency, after 8 years of claiming Bush's youthful drinking disqualifies him. Your hypocrisy is a beacon of hope shining over a sea of political posing.

    I would also like to thank the Kennedy's for coming out in support of me. There's a lot of glamour behind the Kennedy name, even though JFK started the Vietnam War, his brother Robert illegally wiretapped Martin Luther King, Jr., and Teddy killed a female employee with whom he was having an extra marital affair and who was pregnant with his child. And I'm not going anywhere near the cousins, both literally and figuratively.

    And I'd like to thank Oprah Winfrey for her support. Her love of meaningless empty platitudes will be the force that propels me to the White House.

    Americans should vote for me, not because of my lack of experience or achievement, but because I make people feel good. Voting for me causes some white folk to feel relieved of their imagined, racist guilt.

    I say things that sound meaningful, but don't really mean anything because Americans are tired of things having meaning. If things have meaning, then that means you have to think about them.

    Americans are tired of thinking. It's time to shut down the brain, and open up the heart. So when you go to vote, remember, don't think, just do. And do it for me.

    Thank You.

    Barack Hussein Obama, Jr.

    June 16, 2008 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  2. An old white woman 4 Obama

    What would we do if Canada had done as we and Israel had done? Think about it. Iran has not invaded anybody as we and Israel do. Iran only talks. And this stupid President we have cannot take Bagdad, so how in the heck could he take Iran? Without doing so much more harm to the Middle East? I cannot wait until we give some integrity to my United States.

    June 16, 2008 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  3. Nick A

    And so it begins....by September of this year, we will see the terror alert level increase to orange for the first time, well, since the last election.

    These scare stories are pathetic. Just as all of the commenters distorting Obama's positions on foreign policy. That's OK people. Keep your head in the sand, and hope the same policies we've had the past 7 years magically make us safer. Don't hold the GOP accountable for anything. McCain must be different (Sarcasitic Inference for those of you who may misunderstand the snark).

    June 16, 2008 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  4. indianapolis

    This is most poorly reported news story I've read today. Did Roberts try to check his source's "facts"? This is a big story and this is all he has? No government officials? I think nuclear prolifferation is a real issue. Maybe it should be treated more with journalistic profesionalism than a crappy high-school newspaper.

    June 16, 2008 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  5. indianapolis

    This is most poorly reported news story I've read today. Did Roberts try to check his source's "facts"? This is a big story and this is all he has? No government officials? I think nuclear prolifferation is a real issue. Maybe it should be treated more with journalistic profesionalism than a crappy high-school newspaper.

    June 16, 2008 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  6. Paul, Riverside, CA

    HMMMMMMMMMMMM

    Kinda sounds like the same crap that was coming out just before the war with Iraq and their "WMD'S" From what I remember, that was just political propoganda stuffed down our throats by the GOP to scare us into the war.

    Well, good thing our military is in such good shape in case something does happen, I mean, I would hate for our military to be fatigued if they were looking at going to war in another country.

    June 16, 2008 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  7. Smarter than W A R

    OBAMA is very smart and Intelligent in the position he has taken on US foreign policy w.r.t t-e-r-r-o-r-i-s-t States like Iran, N.K and Venezuela. Look at what are the consequences of taking a constantly belligerent hawkish stance ( "...Comply or else .."). We alienated even our allies due to Iraq war. Iraq became a very costly war (Lives, economy and lost respect) but the largest recruiting drive for the t-e-r-r-o-r-i-s-t-s. They are waging a w-a-r of attrition against us. It is as simple as this: Arm a man who has no future and he will turn into a t-e-r-r-o-r-i-s-t, but give him a farm and he will turn into a simple farmer. The Iraq war turned many Loving Fathers and Sons into vengeful bad guys.

    June 16, 2008 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  8. Greg

    Why is it the public, by and large, has never heard of the A.Q. Kahn network? Much the same way Americans had scarcely heard of Al Quaida before 9/11? I'm curious if this is the cart before the horse, or the horse, meaning are we drumming up support for an attack against Iran, or are we only now beginning to see 'leaks' of what the government has known, but trying to keep from saying publicly for a year or so? I've said before, whatever election year monday morning quarterbacks feel about W, there has not been another attack on US soil under his watch... the man was a moderate like his dad (Quayle was the conservative on the Bush Sr. ticket), with Democrat Bob Bullock as his mentor in Texas, before running for president... would it have been a totally different presidency without 9/11? We will never know, just like Clinton's supporters have always suggested that Bill could have been so much more had it not been for the Lewinsky affair. And if Hillary hadn't alienated so many people over the years, she might still be running... woulda, coulda, shoulda... the bottomline is Iraq had eight years under the Clintons to hide whatever armaments in the sand, like kitty litter, and you can bet Americans are just now being told of trouble on the horizon, aside from election year politics, we're probably in more danger, perhaps imminent danger than we know. It's not fear-mongering... it's a warning like telling Americans, the rest of the world is paying twice what we do at the pumps, get ready it's coming!

    June 16, 2008 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  9. Victor in Saanich, B.C. Canada

    The 'genie' once out of the bottle is a little hard to put back in!! Not IF but WHEN!!

    June 16, 2008 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  10. no Hil liar vp

    Nia AZ /Your nightmare sceneario true for me and many others OMG we can't let this happen .

    This Obama movement for his election will be the laggest ,greatest ever observed in American history .
    CHANGE we can believe in .
    its Oh "Yes We Can all tjhe way to the Oval Office .
    OBAMA 2008/20012

    Its Down/out with Mc Looser

    June 16, 2008 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  11. demwit

    Nothing Saddam was interested in though.....

    June 16, 2008 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  12. Janet, Arizona

    CNN, please explain to me how this is a "Political Ticker" story.

    Got to keep the fear going, right?

    June 16, 2008 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  13. tai

    Why you telling me this? SO i can vote for mccain, who helped us put in the biggest hole in recent history. NO! your fearmongering days are over, time for change and hope and a better america than the last 8 yrs.

    June 16, 2008 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  14. noMcBush, cambridge, MA

    If the Bush Administration is so sure of this information, why didn't they announce it earlier to make their case? Don't they need some solid reasons to clamp down on Iran? Why aren't they pressuring Switzerland and Pakistan to make the Tinners and Khan talk?

    Is this a calculated leak to set up for attacking Iran?

    June 16, 2008 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  15. Sherri

    Stop the fear mongering. Get to the negotiating table. We need Obama's aggressive negotiation and diplomatic skills right now.

    Why is more attention not focused on Pakistan? The sabors are rattling against Iran regarding a future nuclear situation. Pakistan has the bomb right now. Pakistan is also giving safe haven to the most wanted terrorists in the world, al Quaida.

    All Americans must demand to know what is happening here.

    June 16, 2008 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  16. Jim in PA

    Valerie Plame's job at the CIA was in nuclear weapons anti-proliferation. After Cheney and Bush illegally outed her , how many of her contacts were exposed and killed? How many Tinner-type deals went through because of this? There are many high ranking Republican officials who are likely guilty of treason. It digusts me that so many right-wingers don't get this. They would rather respond to this story by saying how terrfied they are of that skinny black Democrat with the big ears. Republicans will always place Party before Country... traitors to the last man.

    June 16, 2008 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  17. independent now

    WHEN ARE ALL OF YOU DEMS AND REPUBLICANS GOING TO REALISE THIS IS A HOLY WAR. ITS ABOUT RELIGON. WE CANT WIN IT, AND WE CANT STOP THEM FROM HATING EACHOTHER. THIS HAS BEEN GOING ON FOR THOUSANDS OF YEARS PEOPLE. MCCAIN IS NOT GONNA FIX IT AND OBAMA IS NOT GOING TO FIX IT. WHAT BOTH LACK IS THE UNDERSTANDING OF IT. WE CANT LET NUKES GET IN THE HANDS OF COUNTRIES THAT HATE ONE ETHNIC OR RELIGIOUS GROUP PERIOD. WE NEED TO DISBAN ALL NUKES INCLUDING OUR OWN. PRACTICE WHAT YOU PREACH.

    June 16, 2008 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  18. John Carter

    From "Obama Knows Best":

    "A peaceful talk by Obama should bring everyone around to his way of thinking".

    HERE IN A NUTSHELL is the essence of so many concerns around Obama, namely that many of his supporters are so blindly naive that they believe he will fix everything, that he knows best, etc. I like the man and many of his messages, but frankly to think what's in quotes above is errant nonsense at best, and deadly naivete at worst.

    Are you REALLY thinking that Obama will be able to influence Iran, North Korea, etc.?? Seriously? Folks, they're not gullible and they're not dying to get the "message" the same way you are. Simply put, they aren't so easily spellbound as the majority of you are, and Obama will NOT repeat NOT convince them.

    Don't get me wrong; I'm all for negotiation when feasible, but I also am savvy enough to understand that attitudes that are completely entrenched and inviolate are VERY unlikely to be changed by someone so green as Obama, regardless of how enchanted his current supporters are.

    June 16, 2008 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  19. John Carter

    To "Old White Woman":

    To your point about Iran not invading anybody, just give it a couple of years. Iran is going to continue its efforts to make Iraq more Shiia, and when there is sufficient groundswell will basically make its move to "unify" the two countries, with the result being an even larger dictatorship (and one with the explicit goal of destroying Israel) than exists now. Put go ahead and continue to put the U.S. in the role of the bad guy...that's so very FASHIONABLE with you Obama supporters.

    June 16, 2008 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  20. Luis

    NEWS FLASH:

    A recent Communist News Network poll states "10 out of 10 Idiots support Obama for President"

    Hell, it's a done deal. See the nice note below:

    My fellow Americans:

    As your future President I want to thank my supporters, for your mindless support of me, despite my complete lack of any legislative achievement, my pastor's relations with Louis Farrakhan and Libyan dictator Moammar Quadafi, or my blatantly leftist voting record while I present myself as some sort of bi-partisan agent of change.

    I also like how my supporters claim my youthful drug use and criminal behavior somehow qualifies me for the Presidency, after 8 years of claiming Bush's youthful drinking disqualifies him. Your hypocrisy is a beacon of hope shining over a sea of political posing.

    I would also like to thank the Kennedy's for coming out in support of me. There's a lot of glamour behind the Kennedy name, even though JFK started the Vietnam War, his brother Robert illegally wiretapped Martin Luther King, Jr., and Teddy killed a female employee with whom he was having an extra marital affair and who was pregnant with his child. And I'm not going anywhere near the cousins, both literally and figuratively.

    And I'd like to thank Oprah Winfrey for her support. Her love of meaningless empty platitudes will be the force that propels me to the White House.

    Americans should vote for me, not because of my lack of experience or achievement, but because I make people feel good. Voting for me causes some white folk to feel relieved of their imagined, racist guilt.

    I say things that sound meaningful, but don't really mean anything because Americans are tired of things having meaning. If things have meaning, then that means you have to think about them.

    Americans are tired of thinking. It's time to shut down the brain, and open up the heart. So when you go to vote, remember, don't think, just do. And do it for me.

    Thank You.

    Barack Hussein Obama, Jr.

    http://www.anybodybutobama.net/

    June 16, 2008 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  21. ChRiS-VA

    Forcing your hand down the throat of the so-called enemy has not worked this far. It would be smart to do as Obama urges to do, Talk with an open mind, with no pre-conditions, as in: Here is some money for your countries trouble, now can we play in your backyard and scope out your wardrobe? That type of politicing went out the window when we ignored Iran during the Regan era. Too much money, oil and power are involved now to try and play MY WAY IS THE ONLY WAY like Bush and McCain think works.

    June 16, 2008 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  22. Bob Indianapolis, IN

    Since they found these computers two years ago, the timing of this report smells like fear-mongering propaganda meant to provide another "reason" for invading Iran...Deja vu, anyone?

    June 16, 2008 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  23. rs

    vote mccain...he'll make everyone feel safe by bombing iran and giving us IRAQ 2: The Sequel.

    June 16, 2008 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  24. An Actual Moderator

    Anyone else think it's odd that this is on the Political Ticker instead of being filed under ordinary world news?

    Oh, that's right: Fearmongering is the cornerstone of Republican campaign strategy since the turn of the century, so of *course* this is a political topic. Nice job being a right-wing shill, CNN!

    June 16, 2008 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  25. Another old white woman for Obama

    Feargate Part Deux.
    I do not for one minute believe that even Iran is suicidal. Because any nuclear attack any any country would be a planet killer. Either by us or them. There can be no peace on earth without tolerance and diplomacy. Ever. No peace has ever been won by war. Only madmen would even suggest such a thing. Iran has threatened no one. Iraq did not have WMD. We were lied to and will be lied to again by the GOP. They are beyond corrupt.
    Do not be fooled by them.

    June 16, 2008 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
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