U.S. Concerned About Pakistani Nuke Security, Secret Budget Reveals

Global Security Newswire Staff
Add to Briefcase
See more stories about...
Global Security Newswire Staff
Sept. 3, 2013, 9:02 a.m.

U.S. in­tel­li­gence of­fi­cials are far more wor­ried about the se­cur­ity of Pakistan’s nuc­le­ar weapons and ma­ter­i­als than the gov­ern­ment has pub­licly ad­mit­ted, ac­cord­ing to a re­port on the secret budget for U.S. in­tel­li­gence op­er­a­tions that was leaked to the Wash­ing­ton Post by former NSA con­tract­or Ed­ward Snowden.

The in­tel­li­gence com­munity has sig­ni­fic­antly heightened its ef­forts to keep tabs not only on Pakistan’s nuc­le­ar weapons but also on chem­ic­al and bio­lo­gic­al fa­cil­it­ies in the vi­ol­ence-wracked South Asi­an na­tion, ac­cord­ing to the so-called “black budget” for fisc­al 2013. That clas­si­fied U.S. spend­ing plan cov­ers the op­er­a­tions of a num­ber of U.S. spy agen­cies in­volved in cov­ert activ­it­ies, coun­ter­in­tel­li­gence and sur­veil­lance.

The 178-page sum­mary of the secret budget re­veals that the United States has grown more sus­pi­cious of Pakistan, and also has car­ried out a much broad­er in­tel­li­gence-col­lec­tion ef­fort of its sup­posed se­cur­ity part­ner than was pre­vi­ously known, the Post re­por­ted.

“Know­ledge of the se­cur­ity of Pakistan’s nuc­le­ar weapons and as­so­ci­ated ma­ter­i­al en­com­passed one of the most crit­ic­al set of … in­tel­li­gence gaps,” re­portedly states the budget over­view, which was signed by U.S. Na­tion­al In­tel­li­gence Dir­ect­or James Clap­per. This lack of in­form­a­tion is es­pe­cially troub­ling in light of “the polit­ic­al in­stabil­ity, ter­ror­ist threat and ex­pand­ing in­vent­ory (of nuc­le­ar weapons) in that coun­try,” the doc­u­ment is said to read.

The budget over­view does not dis­close the spe­cif­ic amount of money spent on sur­veil­lance of Pakistan, though it does in­dic­ate the coun­try is a fo­cus of U.S. non­pro­lif­er­a­tion and anti-ter­ror­ism ef­forts.

The U.S. in­tel­li­gence com­munity re­ques­ted roughly $6.9 bil­lion for fisc­al 2013 to fund ef­forts to lim­it the spread of weapons of mass de­struc­tion and $16.6 bil­lion to com­bat al-Qaida and oth­er ter­ror­ist or­gan­iz­a­tions. When com­bined, those two areas take up close to 50 per­cent of the spy agen­cies’ de­sired fund­ing for the cur­rent fisc­al year, which ends Sept. 30.

U.S. spy agen­cies are con­cen­trat­ing on two es­pe­cially troub­ling pos­sib­il­it­ies in Pakistan: the chance that atom­ic sites in the na­tion would be as­saul­ted by loc­al ex­trem­ist groups, and that rad­ic­al mil­it­ants would be able to in­filt­rate the mil­it­ary or in­tel­li­gence agen­cies, giv­ing them a bet­ter po­s­i­tion to gain ac­cess to nuc­le­ar ma­ter­i­als or to mount an in­sider at­tack, ac­cord­ing to the art­icle.

The United States does not know much about how Pakistani nuc­le­ar ma­ter­i­al is channeled through the vari­ous fa­cil­it­ies in­volved in the war­head pro­gram. U.S. wor­ries about the coun­try’s nuc­le­ar weapons seem to be the res­ult of just how little in­form­a­tion is known than by any par­tic­u­lar in­form­a­tion that would sug­gest a se­cur­ity gap, the Post con­cludes after re­view­ing the budget doc­u­ments.

The budget sum­mary re­portedly con­tains a table that lists a min­im­um of six areas where in­form­a­tion about Pakistan’s nuc­le­ar weapon activ­it­ies is deemed lack­ing. The Post does not dis­close what those six areas are.

The U.S. in­tel­li­gence com­munity’s form­a­tion of a Pakistan WMD Ana­lys­is Cell to mon­it­or the phys­ic­al status of atom­ic sub­stances was seen as help­ful in provid­ing a “more com­pre­hens­ive un­der­stand­ing of stra­tegic weapons se­cur­ity in Pakistan,” the doc­u­ment is said to state.

Still, “the num­ber of gaps as­so­ci­ated with Pakistani nuc­le­ar se­cur­ity re­mains the same,” the budget over­view re­portedly says, and “the ques­tions as­so­ci­ated with this in­tract­able tar­get are more com­plex.”

Mul­tiple men­tions in the secret doc­u­ment about the aug­ment­a­tion of U.S. sur­veil­lance over Pakistani bio­lo­gic­al and chem­ic­al re­search fa­cil­it­ies is thought to be the res­ult of con­cerns that ex­trem­ist or­gan­iz­a­tions might at­tempt to steal WMD-rel­ev­ant sub­stances from the state-man­aged labor­at­or­ies, ac­cord­ing to the Post.

The United States also is mon­it­or­ing the se­cur­ity of neigh­bor­ing In­dia’s nuc­le­ar activ­it­ies, the budget re­port is said to state.

What We're Following See More »
ORDER REMAINS BLOCKED
Federal Appeals Court Upholds Ruling Against Travel Ban
7 hours ago
THE LATEST

The 4th Circuit Court of Appeals "has upheld the nationwide block of President Donald Trump's executive order restricting travel from several predominantly Muslim countries. ... It upholds the suspension of a revised version of the executive order that the Trump administration crafted to better hold up to legal scrutiny than an earlier version."

Source:
APPEALS COURT IN VIRGINIA
Court Upholds Block On Travel Ban
7 hours ago
BREAKING
CITES CONFLICT OF INTEREST
Lieberman Withdraws from Consideration for FBI Job
8 hours ago
THE LATEST
CHINA OBJECTS
U.S. Destroyer Sails Close to Artificial Chinese Island
9 hours ago
THE DETAILS

A Navy destroyer sailed within 12 miles of an artificial island built by China in the South China Sea, one of several such islands at the center of territorial disputes with other nearby nations. The U.S. called it a "freedom of navigation exercise." Chinese Defense Ministry spokesman Ren Guoqiang "said China had lodged stern representations to the U.S over the patrol and that such moves were not conducive to peace and stability in the South China Sea."

Source:
MINIMUM 2 PERCENT GDP
Trump Tells NATO Countries To Pay Up
10 hours ago
BREAKING
×
×

Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.

Login