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

Roberts: The Nightmare Scenario


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. Tim

    I am sure the liberals think this is just a scare tactic...... This is why we cant have a liberal President. Did we not learn anything from the Clinton years. The liberal philosphy of apeasement and turn the other cheek will no longer work.

    Anyone But Obama

    June 16, 2008 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  2. al

    the true nightmare scenario.....is how incredibly naive and gullible the US populace is when it comes to the irrational fear of Iran...Saudis killed 3300 of us on 9/11...Iran killed 0

    June 16, 2008 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  3. Straight Talk Folks

    "Tejano" you are a GOP fearmongering surrogate! I hope you get drafted, should there be another war! No matter all the crap you guys are putting out, you will NEVER succeed this time around because voters are tired of all your lies and fearmongering! Go get some medication, it is full moon you surely need it Tejano and co!

    June 16, 2008 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  4. Tim

    I am sure the liberals think this is just a scare tactic...... This is why we cant have a liberal President. Did we not learn anything from the Clinton years. The liberal philosphy of apeasement and turn the other cheek will no longer work.

    Anyone But Obama and his b-a-b-y-'-s m-o-m-m-a

    June 16, 2008 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  5. Nick

    Rave, how exactly is he going to do all this? He never tells us. It's almost like he doesn't have a plan at all, just empty words.

    June 16, 2008 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  6. 58 old white ladies for OBAMA










    June 16, 2008 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  7. Obama will bring peace

    Just vote for the great Obama.

    He will talk the world out of all their challenges and problems.

    He has spoken and said that he will make the lion lie down with the lambs.

    What else do you need to believe that HE is the ONE?

    June 16, 2008 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  8. Unity

    Obama will bring UNITY and PEACE to the world... just like he did to the once unified Democratic party.

    See how he united the democrats?

    Have you any further doubts about this boastful arrogant braggart?

    June 16, 2008 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  9. proud army and navy mom

    the answer is not just by force but also talks.

    it is a delicate balance that the idiots (bush, rice, cheney, rumsfeld and mccain) knows nothing about. instead of use various means to fix the problem, they rather just bomb, bomb, bomb Iran. right? mcdumb.

    June 16, 2008 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  10. arun

    Did'nt our great ally (Pakistan) tell us nothing like this happened and the POTUS took him at his word ? Why should such an incompetent lot of people be given a third term ?

    June 16, 2008 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  11. arun


    We have been living in a nightmare for the last eight years. It is going to end pretty soon.

    June 16, 2008 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  12. Mike, Syracuse, NY

    Surely after a chat with Obama, Iran and other terrorisats will give up their nuclear ambitions and sit down with isreal for some lox and bagles. After all, he has such a HUGE record of diplomatic accomplishments. For example there was the time when....er. Then again how about the time he....hmmm. Give me a few months, I'll think of something he's done. But he is the change for hope, or is it the hope for change?

    June 16, 2008 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  13. liar Obama

    Just vote for Obama-

    He is the ONE.

    He will unite the world with his inspirational messages of hope...all the while stabbing people in the back.

    June 16, 2008 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  14. steve

    Tejano, if you are going to make a statement like that, why don't you back it up with facts? Obviously, you republicans do not like to bother addressing those from what I see here on the blogs. Or maybe you just do not have any facts to back up what you say.

    I'm so looking forward to Novemeber I can taste it.

    Democrats 08!

    June 16, 2008 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  15. Terry, Lakeland Florida

    Wait but the Desm tell us neither NK or Iran are building nukes, they are only working on peaceful power production systems. Well even if they aer working on Nuke I'm sure Obama can talk them out of it...I mean he is the next coming..isn't he?

    June 16, 2008 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  16. Colony14Author

    No need to worry. Obama will immediately consult the United Nations, which will send a strongly worded letter of disapproval to the bad guys, and that should take care of the matter.

    June 16, 2008 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  17. RRO

    The minituraization technology required to put a nuclear dievice into a sophisticated missle system has long been a monopoly of more advaned nations. This is indeed a scary scenario, because if they perfect this technology they can build rockets capable of reaching the United States, and frankly this glorious missle shielf is not worth a single cent being spent on it.

    The next President must be willing to talk to these countries but at the same time have the grit and determination to hold them accountable if they choose to move forward. I do believe Obama can do it and will do it if necessary. He needs to show this country he more than just talk.

    June 16, 2008 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  18. It's the Economy Stupid

    I fear having McCain as president because it will be a far worst than it currently is.

    June 16, 2008 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  19. just vote Obama

    I'm not at all worried.

    I am voting for Obama-
    no qualifications
    no experience
    flip flopper on the issues
    and has never done anything for his country.

    But I believe that he can manipulate and lie and spin his way out of any threatening situation.

    Reality does not matter when you have the MASTER of controlling your perception of the reality, at the helm.

    June 16, 2008 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  20. WWII Veteran

    Charismatic politicians who command large rallies of adoring followers are not always what they appear to be.

    June 16, 2008 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  21. fairandstraight

    Tejano, get some sleeping pills to help you sleep through your nightmares of having a black president because he will win.

    The real nightmare should be the thought of facing 4 more years of George Bush's policies where the rich gets richer and the poor gets poorer. The thought of our troops being killed in a war that should have never been authorized should have the entire country having nightmares. Also the thought of electing a president that admits to having little knowledge about the economy should send chills up the spines of many. The same way he will have to hire an economist, then if necessary, Obama can hire people to enhance his national security issues. It is clear that he had better judgment than McCain and Clinton.

    Hillary Clinton really gave the GOP some negative attacks ads to run against her own party this fall. They didn't work for her and they won't work for McCain.

    Obama 08

    June 16, 2008 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  22. Will in Richmond, VA

    This is the real harm that the Iraq war has brought us. We have taken our eyes off the ball for so long that all these other threats have popped up.

    We must affix a hard deadline for Iraq withdrawal so we can refocus on 1) Finding Osama Bin Ladin and bringing him to justice. 2) Refocusing on all our economic problems and energy crisis. 3) Preparing to meet these new threats from a diplomatic position of strength and moral authority, which has eroded over the past 10 years.

    Obama has the vision, the team, and the judgment to meet these tasks better than anyone else on the ballot.

    June 16, 2008 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  23. We need a true leader

    Where is Hillary?

    I would be a lot less concerned knowing someone with her intelligence and judgement and experience was leading us.

    Obama... not so much... just a pandering hypocritical manipulator.

    McCain?... well at least he is not a flip flopping master manipulator. I'll take honesty over fraud any day.

    June 16, 2008 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  24. People make no sense

    Hillary Clinton wouldn't know this information because she doesn't read reports.

    McCain can't remember reading it.

    June 16, 2008 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |


    June 16, 2008 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
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