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|Pakistani Said to Have Given Libya Uranium|
ISTANBUL, Feb. 20 (New York Times) — The network led by the Pakistani
nuclear scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan shipped partly enriched uranium
directly to Libya aboard a Pakistani airplane in 2001, providing the
fuel stock in addition to the designs and technology to make a nuclear
bomb, according to a report by Malaysian investigators released
The report provides a wealth of evidence that businessmen and
engineers from Turkey, Germany, Switzerland and Britain, as well as
Dubai and Malaysia, were closely involved in recent years in Libya's
clandestine nuclear program. It is based primarily on the Malaysian
authorities' interrogation of B.S.A. Tahir, 44, a key middleman in Dr.
Khan's global nuclear trading network.
The shipment of uranium was one of many deliveries of nuclear
components to Libya that began with a meeting in Istanbul in 1997
between Dr. Khan and Libyan officials, the Malaysian report says.
The International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna confirmed in a report
that Libya in February 2001 received a shipment that included 1.87
tons of uranium hexafluoride, a standard raw material for centrifuges
to enrich uranium. The fuel required major further enrichment in order
to reach bomb-grade quality, nuclear experts said. The amount was
ideal for testing centrifuges but would also be sufficient to make one
small bomb, they said.
The two reports make clear that Dr. Khan and his associates were
directly involved in providing Libya with the essential weapons
component that is also the most difficult to procure: the uranium
fuel. In a confession in Pakistan this month, Dr. Khan admitted that
he had secretly sent nuclear designs and equipment to Libya, Iran and
Dr. Khan's key middleman, Bukhary Seyed Abu Tahir, has been isolated
under intense police investigation in Malaysia for many weeks. In a
speech on Feb. 11, President Bush said the Pakistani network had sold
uranium hexafluoride, but he did not say who the buyer was.
The report from the I.A.E.A., the atomic monitoring agency in Vienna,
was obtained from a Western diplomat. It described a Libyan nuclear
weapons effort that was more ambitious than previously known. Libya
was not close to producing a bomb when it decided to disclose and
abandon its nuclear program last year.
The international agency reported that Libya made a strategic decision
in July 1995 to redouble its nuclear efforts. In 1997, it said,
foreign manufacturers provided 20 pre-assembled centrifuges of the P-1
type, a model that Dr. Khan developed. Libya also obtained components
for an additional 200 P-1 centrifuges.
The agency found that between late 2000 and April 2002, much of this
gear was made ready for use. But then Libyan officials decided to
dismantle and store it "for security reasons."
Starting in 2000, Libya embarked on a parallel effort to acquire more
advanced centrifuges with rotors made of maraging steel, a superhard
alloy, and known as P-2, also a signature design of Dr. Khan's. They
spin faster and enrich uranium faster.
Libya received two of the advanced centrifuges in September 2000, the
atomic agency's report said, and ordered 10,000 more, with parts
starting to arrive in large quantities in December 2002. All were made
The report said Libya had received no more steel rotors, the heart of
the advanced machine. It added, however, that Libya had acquired "a
large stock of maraging steel" to make centrifuge parts and that
Libyan technicians had trained for such work at foreign sites on at
least three occasions.
Private experts said 10,000 machines, if successfully completed, could
each year make enough highly enriched uranium for about 10 nuclear
weapons. But the report said Libya had been only in the planning
stages and had produced no enriched uranium.
The report by the Malaysian authorities maps out in detail the supply
lines leading to the Libyan program. It does not mention Dr. Khan by
name, referring to him as the "Pakistani nuclear arms expert" and
"Pakistani scientist." It said Mr. Tahir met Dr. Khan when he visited
Pakistan in the mid-1980's and won contracts to sell air conditioning
equipment to "Khan Research Laboratory."
Mr. Tahir said he personally attended the 1997 meeting here between
Dr. Khan and a Libyan official, identified in the report as Mohamad
Matuq Mohamad. The reference may be to Matuq Mohamad Matuq, Libya's
deputy prime minister, who heads the country's nuclear program. During
the meeting, the Libyans asked Dr. Khan to supply them with centrifuge
Mr. Tahir said he met with Mr. Matuq several other times between 1998
and 2002 in Casablanca and Dubai.
As a result, "a certain amount of UF6 (enriched uranium) was sent by
air from Pakistan to Libya" in 2001, the Malaysian report says. Mr.
Tahir said he could not remember the name of the "Pakistani airline"
that carried the shipment, and the report does not make clear whether
it was a civilian or military aircraft.
Pakistan's information secretary, Syed Anwar Mahmood, declined to
comment on the allegations in the Malaysian report.
The report confirms that a number of complete centrifuges were also
flown to Libya direct from Pakistan in the year after the uranium
shipment. It said the centrifuges were "possibly" P-1 models.
Recent revelations about the Pakistani proliferation network have led
at least four European countries — the Netherlands, Germany,
Switzerland and Spain — to open investigations into the activities of
citizens implicated in the nuclear trade.
The Malaysian report detailed an undertaking called Project Machine
Shop 1001, an effort to build a manufacturing plant in Libya capable
of making centrifuge components that could not be obtained from
outside the country.
Mr. Tahir told the Malaysian police that the project had been
supervised by Peter Griffin, a British engineer who first began
working with Dr. Khan in the early 1980's. Mr. Griffin provided the
plan for Machine Shop 1001 and a lathe, the report says. Machines for
the workshop came from companies in Spain and Italy. Mr. Griffin also
arranged for seven or eight Libyan technicians to go to Spain for
training in operating some of the machines, according to the report.
Mr. Griffin also supplied an Italian-made furnace used in the refining
of certain centrifuge components, Mr. Tahir said.
Mr. Griffin could not be reached for comment, but in recent weeks his
son Paul has denied that he or his father had done anything illegal.
In 2001 Mr. Tahir signed a contract with a Malaysian company, Scomi
Precision Engineering, to supply centrifuge components. Scomi
officials have said they did not know the parts were for a nuclear
device or for Libya. To oversee the production at Scomi, Mr. Tahir
hired Urs Friedrich Tinner, a 37-year-old Swiss engineer. Mr. Tinner's
father, Friedrich Tinner, is a mechanical engineer who had dealings
with Dr. Khan going back to the 1970's. In that period, a Swiss
company where Friedrich Tinner was export manager,
Vakuum-Apparate-Technik, or VAT, came under scrutiny for shipping
sensitive items to Pakistan.
Friedrich Tinner's youngest son, Urs, worked with his father for some
time and then moved to Dubai and later to Malaysia, according to
Walter Haas, Urs Tinner's brother-in-law.
According to the Malaysian report, Urs Tinner bought a Cincinnati Hawk
150 Machining Center and other machines from Britain and France
through his father and elder brother, Marco, who owns a company based
in Sax, Switzerland, called Traco. Urs Tinner installed the machines
at the Malaysian factory, the report says.
While working at Scomi, Urs Tinner took measures to protect the
blueprints "to safeguard trade secrets" and hide any evidence of his
presence, the report says. When he left Scomi in October 2003, he took
the hard-disk drive with him that had the drawings, as well as his
An e-mail statement released by Marco Tinner on Friday said that Urs
Tinner worked at the Malaysian factory for about three years
monitoring production of machine parts but that "information about the
end user or intended purpose of the goods was not at his disposal at
Raymond Bonner reported from Istanbul for this article and Craig S.
Smith from Paris. William J. Broad in New York, David Rohde in
Islamabad and Baradan Kuppusamy in Kuala Lumpur also contributed