June 16th, 2008
11:30 AM ET
7 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. David Goldman for OBAMA

    I GUESS BUSH & MCBUS HAVE NEVER HEARD

    OR READ ABOUT MILITARY STRATEGY. THAT

    CAN EASILY EXPLAIN THEIR MANY YEARS OF

    UTTER FAILURE & MCBUSHE'S NEED TO

    STAY THERE FOR A 100 YEARS. IRAQ IS A 1000 TIMES

    WORSE & MORE DANGEROUS NOW THAN BEFORE

    WE ATTACKED THEM.

    June 16, 2008 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  2. EBC, Boyds MD

    Tejano – You're a fool if you think Obama is YOUR WORST nightmare! Ha! ha! Your comment is truly laughable Obama IS going to be the next President. But don't you worry, we don't need folks like you who are nothing but negative and scared of change. YOU can stay with McBUSH all you want.... I'm sure McGrampy loves to see people like you coming his way.

    June 16, 2008 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  3. Leroy

    And Barack Hussein Obama thinks talking with these people over a cup of coffee and no conditions will solve the problem.

    June 16, 2008 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  4. McShame

    I am McShame. I will go and bomb IRAN. We all will have a peaceful future... Vote for me, sit back and relax. Let us wipe those middle eastern, arabic speaking morons from the face of the earth.

    Mc Shame 2008.

    June 16, 2008 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  5. Still for Hill

    Write in Hillary Clinton.....

    Or continue to bow before the phantom of the Oprah.

    Choice is yours... after all the DNC swiftboated their best candidate to force feed you their pandering, lying hypocrit.

    Why? Well the young- who have never cared enough or were too selfish to vote before- demanded it.
    And... it was more politically correct to go Black than female.

    Look at how no criticism of Obama was tolerated, without someone screaming "RACIST"...but HRC, well she was fair game.

    Give me a leader that I can criticize any day, over the perfect Supreme Ruler that is above everyone and beyond critique.

    June 16, 2008 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  6. multitaskin

    AS WITH ALL ROGUES AND TERRORISTS AND SUCH IT IS ONLY A MATTER OF TIME BEFORE A NUCLEAR ATTACT TAKES PLACE. WHAT DO THESE PEOPLE HAVE TO LOSE. LOGIC DICTATES THAT AS WITH THE ATTACKS ON THW WTC, SUCH AN ATTACK WILL COME OUT OF THE BLUE. THEY USUALLY DO ELSE THEYD BE STOPPED. WITH NO REAL FORM OF DISCOURAGEMENT WE CAN ONLY WAIT TILL IT HAPPENS THEN DEAL WITH IT. OBAMA SAYS TALK TO THEM, BUSH SAYS KILL THEM FIRST, AND GOD ONLY KNOWS WHAT JONJON MCMCAIN WOULD DO. REALISTICALLY SPEAKING IF THESE ATTACKS DONT CARRY WITH THEM A REALISTIC FEAR OF RETRIBUTION AFTER REASONABLE DIALOGUE HAS BEEN EXHAUSTED, THEY WILL BECOME MORE THRILL KILLINGS THAN RELIGIOUS OR IDEALOGICAL ACTS. ITS HARD TO TELL IRAN AND OTHERS THEY CANT HAVE NUKES WHEN YOU HAVE THEM. ITS NOT SO HARD TO DEAL THE ULTIMATE PUNISHMENT TO THOSE WHO WONT REASON AND USE THEM IN ANGER. REMEMBER THE ONLY THING RUSSIA FEARED WAS A LIKE RESPONSE IE MUTUAL DESTRUCTION. TERRORISTS KILL TO GET TO HEAVEN. DYING IS A MEANS TO AN END. TALK IS CHEAP BUT A LOADED GUN IS FOR REAL. WALK SOFTLY AND CARRY A BIG, PREFERABLY RADIOACTIVE, STICK.
    GOD HELP AMERICA!!!!!!!!!

    June 16, 2008 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  7. Matthew

    Why isn't this bigger news today? This seems pretty important and could explain a lot.

    June 16, 2008 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  8. no more fear

    Don't fear monger... unless you try to bully HRC supporters with concerns about the war or Roe vs Wade or a conservative Supreme Court.

    THEN fear mongering to force the vote to Obama is okay.

    Otherwise, just lets all dream peace and unity... while hating and attacking all those who dare to disagree.

    That is the Obama way. Make sure your vote speaks in Nov... it wasn't counted in the democratic primary.

    June 16, 2008 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  9. Praying for a Miracle

    Do you think that the American people will wake up in time, before we elect an unqualified candidate for president and place our nation at risk?

    June 16, 2008 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  10. Trust in Obama

    I fully believe that Obama has all the qualifications, the necessary experience and the judgement to resolve all conflicts.

    TEE HEE HEE.

    Obama can't even choose his friends wisely, has absolutely no qualification for president unless being Black counts, and has a track record of having done absolutely nothing for his country.

    Good luck, Obama worshippers.

    June 16, 2008 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  11. OBAMA FOR PRESIDENT

    This Is The Type Of News That Will Give Mccain A Speech About Why We Need To Attack Iran!

    June 16, 2008 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  12. Cynthia

    The true Nightmare Scenario is having McCain as our president and him starting up the draft.

    June 16, 2008 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  13. OBAMA FOR PRESIDENT

    Mccain Is Licking His Chops Already!

    June 16, 2008 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  14. Zachary D. Skelton

    I usually do not post comments but this annoys me. Anyone who has done any study of nuclear science in college should be able to tell that 1) Iran is at least 5-10 years from making a bomb, at best.

    To be continued because CNN will not post the whole thing!

    June 16, 2008 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  15. MD

    As long as the West threatens Iran, they will not have their cooperation. This 'carrot and stick" diplomacy is a joke. As long as the United States is in the frontline of attack, the Iranians are obligated to their people to reject whatever comes out of the West.

    The Iranian government cannot be seen as bowing to pressure from the United States among its people.

    If a country like Switzerland takes charge, then may be everyone can save face.

    Bush's Cowboy Diplomacy has gotten us into this mess in the first place, and more of the same will result to the same: A STANDOFF.

    June 16, 2008 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  16. bring back democracy

    Rogue Nations?

    What about rogue politics, where the least qualified candidate can use dirty politics and the race card to eliminate the MOST qualified out of the race?

    I am more concerned about the Rogue Democratic Party... where the corrupt leftist leaders can force one candidate out of the race, and can treat her with so much disrespect.

    Bring Democracy back to democratic primaries... then worry about the threat to liberty and freedom imposed by others.

    June 16, 2008 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  17. Zachary D. Skelton

    You have my e-mail address CNN, please reply..

    June 16, 2008 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  18. Rev.MICHAEL HUBBARD

    Repent for the kingdom of God is at hand and when obama is elected president things will move even closer to the end of time as we know it So people just need to pick up the word of God read what it says It has stood the test of time and read the prphets had to say and read rev.I know call me a nut but Let God be God and every word i say atnd on His word. To many people are asleep in the dark when all HELL literal ios going to break lose sure glad i wont have to be here to see it.

    June 16, 2008 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  19. OBAMA FOR PRESIDENT

    I Wonder How Mccain Will Use This To Try And Scare The American People Into Voting For Him!

    June 16, 2008 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  20. INSULT-AGAIN

    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    Here we go again Obama insulting the voters of Ohio and Florida. He does not need them..."I can win wiithout you" Voters everywhere listen and you decide.

    June 16, 2008 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  21. ML

    it is not fear mongering, it is a reality. How can be some of Americans this ostrich stupid? Let's stick our heads in sand -and nothing will happen to us. YEs, right.

    June 16, 2008 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  22. Obama knows best

    A peaceful talk by Obama should bring everyone around to his way of thinking. Just DON'T parse his words.

    The media can help by embellishing the merits of his speech. ALL other Nations can be brought in line just by screaming at them that they are nothing but ignorant, stupid, uneducated, redneck moronic racists if they don't do what the GREAT Obama demands.

    That is how it was done- with good results- in the democratic primary.

    Agree with Obama or ELSE!!!!!

    June 16, 2008 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  23. Sweetie

    No problem! Obama is going to talk with Iran!

    Problem solved, they will listen up and see how they've been behaving like a bunch of bitter racists and stop defending themselves.

    McCain 08

    June 16, 2008 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  24. Joe Regis

    "How I stop worrying and love the bomb".

    Dr. Strange Love

    Stanley K

    See the movie!

    June 16, 2008 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  25. If no HIll

    It is issues... such as these... that caused me to vote for the VERY BEST AND MOST QUALIFIED CANDIDATE- HILLARY CLINTON.

    It was racial concerns, and pandering to the youth vote, and being impressed with words... that got us the poor choices we now have.

    McCain over Obama.

    June 16, 2008 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
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