Intelligence: The Conning Khan Caper Revealed

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August 26,2008:  Despite efforts by the CIA to keep it quiet, it was recently revealed how the CIA did major damage to nuclear weapons developments programs in Libya and Iran. This was done by getting to one of the engineers working for the Pakistani Khan network (named after scientist, Abdul Qadeer Khan, who led development efforts for  Pakistani nuclear weapons.) The CIA basically hired Swiss engineer Friedrich Tinner and his two sons, to feed the Khan network, and its customers, defective (in subtle ways) nuclear weapons components. From 2001-4, the Tinners worked under CIA direction. This caused Libya to drop its nuclear weapons program, and delayed work in Iran.

Since then, the Tinners have been prosecuted in Switzerland for their work with the Khan network. The elder Tinner began working for Khan in the 1970s, helping to steal European nuclear technology for the Pakistani weapons program. This relationship expanded in the 1990s, when Abdul Qadeer Khan began making money on the side by selling nuclear weapons technology to anyone who could afford it and was discrete (like Libya, Iran, North Korea and Iraq). The CIA effort to discover the Khan network, and take it down, led them to Tinner, whose willingness to collaborate helped bring down the Khan network.

The CIA paid the Tinners $10 million for their work, and are trying to keep them out of jail. But now details of the Tinner operation have been leaked to the media. The CIA will now try to keep secret the methods and contacts it used to uncover and destroy the Khan network, as well as how it sabotaged components. All this information can be used again, if it doesn't get published in the mass media first.

 


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