Caveat: The NY Times story detailed below, although generally consistent with earlier leaks pertaining to CIA involvement with the AQ Khan nuclear black market net, is based on unnamed domestic intelligence sources. This appears to be a limited hang-out that baits the hook with the CIA's destruction of evidence, and quietly slips in the illicit sale of nuclear materials to Iran, thereby giving substance to GW Bush's puffy-chested vagaries - these remain to be proven and there is scant evidence for them apart from the word of the Times' intelligence "sources." Missing in this story are connections that blow back to the Bush State Department, particularly in Turkey.
Paul Woodward, Online Correspondent
August 26. 2008
While efforts to dismantle the Khan network have been widely reported in recent years, The New York Times indicated that the CIA was also in effect making use of the network in an effort to undermine the targeted nuclear programmes.
"The Tinners played an important role in a clandestine American operation to funnel sabotaged nuclear equipment to Libya and Iran, a major but little-known element of the efforts to slow their nuclear progress.
"The sabotage first came to light, diplomats and officials said, when inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency traveled to Iran and Libya in 2003 and 2004 and discovered identical vacuum pumps that had been damaged cleverly so that they looked perfectly fine but failed to operate properly. They traced the route of the defective parts from Pfeiffer Vacuum in Germany to the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico, the birthplace of the bomb. There, according to a European official who studied the case, nuclear experts had made sure the pumps 'wouldn't work.'
"A more serious disruption involved a power supply shipped to Iran from Turkey, where Dr Khan's network did business with two makers of industrial control equipment.