The ‘Fallout’ Of The CIA’s Race To Get Khan
In early 2004, A.Q. Khan, the father of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons program, was placed under house arrest for his role in an international nuclear trafficking network. For five years, Khan was confined to his home, after admitting that he shared nuclear secrets with countries including North Korea, Libya and Iran.
At the time, President Bush declared the breakup of Khan’s nuclear black market as a major victory for the United States. But in a new book about the takedown of Khan’s network, two journalists argue that the United States should have acted much sooner — and when they did, it was too little, too late.
In Fallout, Douglas Frantz and Catherine Collins track the ways the United States secretly penetrated Khan’s network in order to prevent Libya and Iran from obtaining nuclear secrets. Frantz tells Fresh Air’s Dave Davies that the CIA knew about and tracked Khan’s nuclear trafficking network for more than 30 years — but was so obsessed with getting information that it let Khan and his associates spread dangerous nuclear technology around the globe rather than moving aggressively to shut the network down.