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CIA agent who exposed US complicity in helping Pakistan develop nuclear bomb

gemini90

Journeyman
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A few excerpts but seriously read the whole article.

He was the CIA's expert on Pakistan's nuclear secrets, but Rich Barlow was thrown out and disgraced when he blew the whistle on a US cover-up. Now he's to have his day in court. Adrian Levy and Cathy Scott-Clark report.

I have read Adrian Levy's book on Pakistan's nuclear bomb. Pretty detailed.

Trawling through piles of cables, he found evidence that two high-ranking US officials extremely close to the White House had tipped off Islamabad about the CIA operation. Furious, Barlow called his superiors. "The CIA went mad. These were criminal offences," Barlow says. The State Department's lawyers considered their position. They argued that an inquiry would necessitate the spilling of state secrets. The investigation was abandoned just as Reagan made his annual statement to Congress, testifying that "Pakistan does not possess a nuclear explosive device."

But the Pervez case would not go away. Congressman Stephen Solarz, a Democrat from New Jersey, demanded a closed congressional hearing to vet the intelligence concerning Pakistan's bomb programme. Barlow was detailed to "backbench" at the meeting, if necessary offering advice to the White House representative, General David Einsel (who had been chosen by Reagan to head his Star Wars programme). An armed guard stood outside the room where the hearing was held.

Barlow recalls that Solarz got straight to the point: "Were Pervez and ul-Haq agents of the Pakistan government?" Without flinching, Einsel barked back: "It is not cut and dried." It was a criminal offence to lie to Congress, as other hearings happening on the same day down the corridor were spelling out to Colonel Oliver North, the alleged mastermind behind Iran-Contra. Barlow froze. "These congressmen had no idea what was really going on in Pakistan and what had been coming across my desk about its WMD programme," he says. "They did not know that Pakistan already had a bomb and was shopping for more with US help. All of it had been hushed up."

Then Solarz called on Barlow to speak. "I told the truth. I said it was clear Pervez was an agent for Pakistan's nuclear programme. Everyone started shouting. General Einsel screamed, 'Barlow doesn't know what he's talking about.' Solarz asked if there had been any other cases involving the Pakistan government and Einsel said, 'No'." Barlow recalls thinking, " 'Oh no, here we go again.' They asked me and I said, 'Yes, there have been scores of other cases.'

Barlow's report was stark. He concluded that the US had sold 40 F-16 fighter jets to Pakistan in the mid-80s - it had been a precondition of the sale that none of the jets could be adapted to drop a nuclear bomb. He was convinced that all of them had been configured to do just that.

How he was targeted. Very similar to how another CIA officer was targeted by Bush Adm. because her husband, an ambassador spoke out the truth about Iraq war. A film was also made on the same topic.

Officials at the OSD kept pressurising me to change my conclusions," Barlow says. He refused and soon after noticed files going missing. A secretary tipped him off that a senior official had been intercepting his papers. In July 1989, Barlow was hauled before one of the Pentagon's top military salesmen, who accused him of sabotaging the new F-16 deal. Eight days later, when Congress asked if the jet could be adapted by Pakistan to drop a nuclear bomb, the Defence Department said, "None of the F-16s Pakistan already owns or is about to purchase is configured for nuclear delivery." Barlow was horrified.

On August 4 1989, he was fired. "They told me they had received credible information that I was a security risk." Barlow demanded to know how and why. "They said they could not tell me as the information was classified." All they would say was that "senior Defence Department officials", whose identities were also classified, had supplied "plenty of evidence". The rumour going around the office was that Barlow was a Soviet spy. Barlow went home to Cindy. "We were in marriage counselling following my fall-out at the CIA. We were getting our relationship back on track. And now I had to explain that I was being fired from the Pentagon."

Barlow still would not give up. His almost pathological tenacity was one of the characteristics that made him a great analyst. With no salary and few savings, he found a lawyer who agreed to represent him pro-bono. At this point, more documents surfaced linking several familiar names to Barlow's sacking and its aftermath; these included Cheney's chief of staff, Libby, and two officials working for Wolfowitz. Through his lawyer, Barlow discovered that he was being described as a tax evader, an alcoholic and an adulterer, who had been fired from all previous government jobs. It was alleged that his marriage counselling was a cover for a course of psychiatric care, and he was put under pressure to permit investigators to interview his marriage guidance adviser. "I had to explain to Cindy that her private fears were to be trawled by the OSD. She moved out. My life, professionally and personally, was destroyed. Cindy filed for divorce."

It seemed Barlow had been vindicated. However, when the report was published it had been completely rewritten by someone at the Pentagon. Funk was appalled. When Barlow's lawyers called the Pentagon, they were told it was the department that had been exonerated. Now it was official: Pakistan was nuclear-free, and did not have the capability of dropping a bomb from an American-supplied F-16 jet and the reputation of the only man who claimed otherwise was destroyed. Later, Barlow's lawyers would find his brief to Cheney had been rewritten, too, clearing Pakistan and concluding that continued US aid would ensure that the country would desist from its WMD programme.

The Pentagon officials who were responsible for Barlow's downfall would all be out of government by 1993, when Bill Clinton came into the White House. In opposition they began pursuing an aggressive political agenda, canvassing for war in Iraq rather than restraining nuclear-armed Pakistan. Their number now included Congressman Donald Rumsfeld, a former Republican defence secretary, and several others who would go on to take key positions under George Bush, including Richard Armitage, Richard Perle and John Bolton.

Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz headed the Commission to Assess the Ballistic Missile Threat to the United States, which concluded in July 1998 that the chief threat - far greater than the CIA and other intelligence agencies had so far reported - was posed by Iran, Iraq and North Korea: the future Axis of Evil powers. Pakistan was not on the list, even though just two months earlier it had put an end to the dissembling by detonating five nuclear blasts in the deserts of Balochistan.

It was also difficult not to conclude that Islamist terrorism was escalating and that its epicentre was Pakistan. The camps that had once been used to train the US-backed mujahideen had, since the Soviet retreat from Afghanistan, morphed into training facilities for fighters pitted against the west. Many were filled by jihadis and were funded with cash from the Pakistan military.

It was made clear to the new president, Bill Clinton, that US policy on Pakistan had failed. The US had provided Islamabad with a nuclear bomb and had no leverage to stop the country's leaders from using it. When he was contacted by lawyers for Barlow, Clinton was shocked both by the treatment Barlow had received, and the implications for US policy on Pakistan. He signed off $1m in compensation. But Barlow never received it as the deal had to be ratified by Congress and, falling foul of procedural hurdles, it was kicked into the Court of Federal Claims to be reviewed as Clinton left office.

When the George Bush came to power, his administration quashed the case. CIA director George Tenet and Michael Hayden, director of the National Security Agency, asserted "state secrets privilege" over Barlow's entire legal claim. With no evidence to offer, the claim collapsed. Destroyed and penniless, the former CIA golden boy spent his last savings on a second-hand silver Avion trailer, packed up his life and drove off to Bear Canyon campground in Bozeman, Montana, where he still lives today.

Even with Barlow out of the picture, there were still analysts in Washington - and in the Bush administration - who were wary of Pakistan. They warned that al-Qaida had a natural affinity with Pakistan, geographically and religiously, and that its affiliates were seeking nuclear weapons. Some elements of the Pakistan military were sympathetic and in place to help. But those arguing that Pakistan posed the highest risk were isolated. Cheney, Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz were in the ascendant, and they returned to the old agenda, lobbying for a war in Iraq and, in a repeat of 1981 and the Reagan years, signed up Pakistan as the key ally in the war against terror.

Contrary advice was not welcome. And Bush's team set about dismantling the government agency that was giving the most trouble - the State Department's Nonproliferation Bureau. Norm Wulf, who recently retired as deputy assistant secretary of state for non-proliferation, told us: "They met in secret, deciding who to employ, displacing career civil servants with more than 30 years on the job in favour of young, like-thinking people, rightwingers who would toe the administration line." And the administration line was to do away with any evidence that pointed to Pakistan as a threat to global stability, refocusing all attention on Iraq.

The same tactics used to disgrace Barlow and discredit his evidence were used again in 2003, this time against Joseph Wilson, a former US ambassador whom the Bush administration had sent to Africa with a mission to substantiate the story that Saddam Hussein was seeking to buy material to manufacture WMD. When Wilson refused to comply, he found himself the subject of a smear campaign, while his wife, Valerie Plame, was outed as a CIA agent. Libby would subsequently be jailed for leaking Plame's identity (although released on a presidential pardon). Plame and Wilson's careers and marriage would survive. Barlow and his wife, Cindy's, would not - and no one would be held to account. Until now.

When the Republicans lost control of both houses of Congress in 2006, Barlow's indefatigable lawyers sensed an opportunity, lodging a compensation claim on Capitol Hill that is to be heard later this month. This time, with supporters of the Iraq war in retreat and with Pakistan, too, having lost many friends in Washington, Barlow hopes he will receive what he is due. "But this final hearing cannot indict any of those who hounded me, or misshaped the intelligence product," he says. "And it is too late to contain the flow of doomsday technology that Pakistan unleashed on the world."
 
OP
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gemini90

Journeyman
^^ Does it make it any less of a truth? Because there was a time when i believed in that date in 1999 when pakistan supposedly achieved the nuclear capability.
 

GhorMaanas

The Vagrant Seeker
did not read the OP fully. will do it later. noam chomsky i think had rightly stated, that the US is the leading terrorist state. although it may not be directly related to the topic at hand, but contrary to the official history, CIA had started aiding the jihadis (later, the taliban) in Afghanistan well 6 months prior the soviet intervention, on the approval of jimmy carter and zbigniew brzezinski (admitted by the latter in, incidentally, a 1998 interview). instead of iran, iraq, n. korea proving to be the 'future' axis of evil powers, its been america, its cohort, pakistan, saudi arabia, who (should) have that (tacit) honour.
 
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