Pakistan scientist mud on CIA

Read more below

By The Telegraph Online
  • Published 10.09.05

New Delhi, Sept. 9 (PTI): Former Dutch Premier Ruud Lubbers has said the Netherlands government had in 1975 and 1986 refrained from acting against disgraced Pakistani nuclear scientist Abdul Qadir Khan following requests from the Central Intelligence Agency of the US, media reports said.

Dutch newspapers, Telegraaf and NRC Handelsblad, and Radio Argos quoted Lubbers as saying the country’s security agency, BVD, had also asked the ministry of economic affairs in 1975, then headed by him, not to act against Khan.

“I think the American intelligence agency put into practice what is very common there; ‘just give us all the information. And do not arrest that man; just let him go ahead. We will have him followed and that way gain more information’,” Lubbers told Vpro Argos radio in an interview.

According to the interview transcript, he asked: “What are we doing here? We have watched this man for 10 years already. Apparently, he is up to some fairly serious things. .... And again I’m told: ‘no, just leave it to the intelligence agencies’. .... Yes, in hindsight that is very stupid indeed.”

The economic affairs ministry, then headed by Lubbers, had in its purview Urenco, the uranium enrichment firm in Almelo where Khan worked in 1975 when suspicions about his spying had arisen in the Dutch government circles.

Khan was “caught in the act” by security personnel in Urenco who “reported it to the BVD. The BVD reported it to its counterpart in Washington, Lubbers said.

maintained in the radio interview.

“The counterpart in Washington then follows a course that amounts to: let him go and we will gain more information. And that is where things start to go wrong,” Lubbers said.

The Dutch newspapers, Telegraaf and NRC Handelsblad, also reported that the matter was debated in the Netherlands parliament and that a Dutch businessman appeared before the local courts on charges of trying to supply parts for nuclear bombs to Khan.