In­side the Ring

The Washington Times Weekly - - National Security - Bill Gertz

Chi­nese doc­u­ments

Se­nior State Depart­ment of­fi­cials re­cently talked about the suc­cess­ful dis­ar­ma­ment of Libya’s nu­clear and other weapons pro­grams, but one of the most re­veal­ing as­pects of the case did not come up: how U.S. of­fi­cials found and re­moved Chi­ne­se­lan­guage nu­clear war­head de­sign doc­u­ments in Libya.

Paula DeSut­ter, as­sis­tant sec­re­tary of state for ver­i­fi­ca­tion, com­pli­ance and im­ple­men­ta­tion, said Sept. 3 that the gov­ern­ment of Libya agreed and then fol­lowed through on its pledge to give up its nu­clear, chem­i­cal, bi­o­log­i­cal and mis­sile pro­grams in 2003 and 2004. The Bush ad­min­is­tra­tion hopes the Libyan model will be fol­lowed by other states, in­clud­ing Iran and North Korea.

“We wanted to re­move es­pe­cially the pro­lif­er­a­tion-sen­si­tive ma­te­ri­als be­fore any­body could change their mind,” she said. “But what we dis­cov­ered over time was that the Libyan gov­ern­ment had in­deed made a strate­gic com­mit­ment to elim­i­nate their ma­te­ri­als, elim­i­nate their WMD pro­grams. And that de­ci­sion hav­ing been made at the top, it was fully im­ple­mented. And there was a very co­op­er­a­tive and trans­par­ent pro­gram — not al­ways smooth, not al­ways easy, but we were able to work those things out.”

A State Depart­ment of­fi­cial, speak­ing on con­di­tion of anonymity, said the Libyans did not get war­head doc­u­ments from China but from the Pak­istani sup­plier net­work headed by A.Q. Khan, who de­vel­oped Pak­istan’s nu­clear arms.

China orig­i­nally gave Pak­istan nu­clear weapons tech­nol­ogy and equip­ment in the 1980s as part of a strate­gic ef­fort to counter In­dia’s nu­clear weapons, the of­fi­cial said. Mr. Khan then took the Chi­nese docu- ments and sup­plied them to Libya as part of a pack­age pro­vided by his pri­vate nu­clear sup­plier net­work. Iran and North Korea, also Khan cus­tomers, are sus­pected of get­ting the Chi­nese doc­u­ments as well.

The doc­u­ments are now stored in a se­cret vault at the En­ergy Depart­ment’s Oak Ridge, Tenn., fa­cil­ity along with other nu­clear equip­ment given up by the Libyans.

The doc­u­ments were de­scribed as large blue­prints that tech­ni­cally are con­sid­ered prim­i­tive and are in­com­plete but ex­plain how to de­velop a nu­clear de­vice small enough to fit on the tip of a mis­sile. If the Libyans had tried to det­o­nate a nu­clear de­vice based on the de­sign, they likely would have caused a se­ri­ous ac­ci­dent, U.S. of­fi­cials said.

The doc­u­ments were re­moved from Libya un­der armed U.S. es­corts be­cause, though in­com­plete, the in­for­ma­tion still could be used to de­velop nu­clear weapons.

The case high­lights the dan­ger of not se­cur­ing nu­clear weapons data, the of­fi­cial said.

Chi­nese Em­bassy spokesman Wang Baodong said the is­sue of the doc­u­ments is “del­i­cate” but that he had no knowl­edge of whether the mat­ter was in­ves­ti­gated by China’s gov­ern­ment.

A Chi­nese For­eign Min­istry spokesman said in 2004 that the gov­ern­ment was con­cerned about re­ports of the doc­u­ments found in Libya and was try­ing to learn more.

Laser ‘first light’

One of the Pen­tagon’s new­est ad­vanced weapons sys­tems reached a mile­stone last week when the Air­borne Laser suc­cess­fully car­ried out the first ground test­ing of a high­pow­ered beam that could be used to shoot down mis­siles and per­haps air­craft in flight in the not-too-dis­tant fu­ture.

Three de­fense con­trac­tors briefed re­porters on the laser test, which took place early Sept. 8 in­side an air­craft hanger at Ed­wards Air Force Base, Calif. They said the test is a ma­jor mile­stone for the laser mis­sile-de­fense pro­gram.

“We are on track for a shoot­down in 2009,” said Mike Rinn, a Boe­ing Corp. vice pres­i­dent and pro­gram di­rec­tor for the Air­borne Laser. Northrop Grum­man and Lock­heed Martin are also part of the project un­der the Mis­sile De­fense Agency.

A flight test of the Boe­ing 747 laser that will at­tempt to shoot down a mis­sile is set for next year.

Mr. Rinn said the Sept. 8 test in­cluded a se­ries of seven high-en­ergy bursts of the laser that each lasted less than a sec­ond. “We call that first light,” he said.

The laser gun was built in­side the back of the Boe­ing-747 jet­liner and uses chem­i­cals to gen­er­ate a high­pow­ered beam that will be fired out the nose of the air­craft. The sys­tem is con­sid­ered a “boost-phase” mis­sile at­tacker that will strike mis­siles in the early phase of flight.

Mr. Rinn said the test was sig­nif­i­cant be­cause it was the first time a megawatt laser gun was out­fit­ted in an air­craft and cou­pled with a beam con­trol sys­tem. “This is a first for our na­tion and a first in the world,” he said.

Pe­traeus guid­ance

Army Gen. David H. Pe­traeus leaves com­mand of U.S. forces in Bagh­dad on Sept. 16 and is widely cred­ited with de­vel­op­ing and im­ple­ment­ing the in­creas­ingly suc­cess­ful coun­terin­sur­gency cam­paign in Iraq. He re­cently sent out a mem­o­ran­dum to all troops out­lin­ing the strat­egy for de­feat­ing al Qaeda and other in­sur­gents and for bring­ing sta­bil­ity to Iraq.

The first or­der of the gen­eral’s July 15 state­ment is to “se­cure and serve the pop­u­la­tion.”

“The Iraqi peo­ple are the decisive ‘ter­rain,’ “ he stated. Other guid­ance is to live among the peo­ple, hold ar­eas that are se­cured and “pur­sue the en­emy re­lent­lessly.”

“Iden­tify and pur­sue Al QaedaIraq and other ex­trem­ist el­e­ments tena­ciously,” he said. “Do not let them re­tain sup­port ar­eas or sanc­tu­ar­ies. Force the en­emy to re­spond to us. Deny the en­emy the abil­ity to plan and con­duct de­lib­er­ate op­er­a­tions,” he said.

In ad­di­tion to force, other as­sets must be used to de­feat the ter­ror­ists and in­sur­gents, he said, in­clud­ing a “com­pre­hen­sive ap­proach that em­ploys all forces and all means at our dis­posal — non-ki- netic as well as ki­netic.”

He also urged pro­mot­ing rec­on­cil­i­a­tion, not­ing that “we can­not kill our way out of this en­deavor.”

Coun­terin­sur­gency plans call for de­feat­ing ter­ror­ist and in­sur­gent net­works, us­ing in­tel­li­gence agents to find leaders, ex­plo­sives ex­perts, fi­nanciers, sup­pli­ers and op­er­a­tors.

The four-star gen­eral, who will lead the U.S. Cen­tral Com­mand, called for us­ing money as a weapons sys­tem, gath­er­ing in­tel­li­gence ag­gres­sively and send­ing it to those that need it.

The gen­eral also called for con­duct­ing ag­gres­sive in­for­ma­tion op­er­a­tions to counter ter­ror­ist pro­pa­ganda.

In the war, sol­diers need to “live our val­ues,” he stated, not­ing that they should “not hes­i­tate to kill or cap­ture the en­emy, but stay true to the val­ues we hold dear. Liv­ing our val­ues dis­tin­guishes us from our en­e­mies. There is no tougher en­deavor than the one in which we are en­gaged. It is of­ten bru­tal, phys­i­cally de­mand­ing, and frus­trat­ing. All of us ex­pe­ri­ence mo­ments of anger, but we can nei­ther give in to dark im­pulses nor tol­er­ate un­ac­cept­able ac­tions by oth­ers.”

Fi­nally, Gen. Pe­traeus urged troops to learn and adapt by con­stantly as­sess­ing the war and ad­just­ing tac­tics, poli­cies and pro­grams. “Never for­get that what works in an area to­day may not work there to­mor­row, and that what works in one area may not work in an­other,” he said. “In coun­terin­sur­gency, the side that learns and adapts the fastest gains im­por­tant ad­van­tages.”

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