How American-Israel spy collected information about Pakistani nukes in '80s
An Israeli spy in the United States, Jonathan Pollard, had reportedly collected information about Pakistan's nuclear programme in the '80s, according to a document released this week.
In 1984 and 1985, Pollard passed on to his Israeli handlers several sets of official US documents about the Kahuta plant, reports The Dawn.
Pollard, although an American citizen, spied for Israel while working for the US Navy's intelligence service. In 1987, he was sentenced to life in prison for spying but can be released on parole on November 21, 2015.
The document released by the CIA, which was prepared on Oct 30, 1987, contains previously classified information about Pollard's activities as an Israeli mole in the US intelligence system.
The CIA document showed that Pollard focused on "Arab (and Pakistani) nuclear intelligence; Arab exotic weaponry, including chemical weapons; Soviet aircraft; Soviet air defences; Soviet air-to-air missiles and air-to-surface missiles; and Arab order-of-battle, deployments, readiness".
Although the CIA document does not reveal what the Americans knew about Pakistan's nuclear programme, other recently declassified documents, posted on the same website do.
The records show that by 1980s the Americans knew that Pakistan had a fairly advanced nuclear programme, but Islamabad's support for the US-led war against the Soviets in Afghanistan prevented them from taking any major action against the Pakistanis.
In July 1982, the Reagan administration sent former CIA deputy director Gen Vernon Walters to meet Gen Muhammad Ziaul Haq with US intelligence reports about "an upswing of clandestine Pakistani efforts" to procure nuclear weapons. Confronted with the evidence, Gen Zia acknowledged that the information "must be true", but restated earlier promises not to develop a nuclear weapon and made pledges to avoid specific nuclear "firebreaks".
In 1986, Arms Control and Disarmament Agency director Kenneth Adelman also warned the White House that Pakistan was secretly enhancing its nuclear capability, but "top levels of the US government let relations with a friendly government supersede non-proliferation goals as long as there was no public controversy".
By the early summer of 1981, State Department intelligence estimated that the Pakistanis were "probably capable of producing a workable device at this time," although the Kahuta enrichment plant was unlikely to produce enough fissile material for a test until 1983.