U.S. ups surveillance of Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal

Pakistan nuclear

File: Pakistani supporters of Islamic party Jammat-e-Islami (JI) ride on a truck carrying a replica of a missile during an anti-indian protest rally in Karachi. RIZWAN TABASSUM/AFP/Getty Images

IANS

Washington – Worried that Islamist extremists could seize components of Pakistan’s nuclear stockpile or trigger a war with India, the US has ramped up its surveillance of Islamabad’s nuclear arms, the Washington Post reported Tuesday.

Besides Al Qaeda, North Korea and Iran, Pakistan is the subject of “an equally intense focus” of a $52.6-billion US intelligence arsenal, the Post reported citing disclosures based on top secret budget documents provided to it by former intelligence contractor Edward Snowden.

“No other nation draws as much scrutiny across so many categories of national security concern,” it said, citing a 178-page summary of the US intelligence community’s “black budget”.

Pakistan’s foreign ministry allayed American fears.

It said Pakistan had set up extensive physical protection measures, robust command institutions, and effective export controls regulatory regimes to ensure the safety and security of nuclear installations and materials.

“We follow best international practices and standards set by the International Atomic Energy Agency,” Xinhua quoted a ministry statement as saying.

The summary shows “the US has ramped up its surveillance of Pakistan’s nuclear arms, cites previously undisclosed concerns about biological and chemical sites there, and details efforts to assess the loyalties of counter-terrorism sources recruited by the CIA.

“Pakistan appears at the top of charts listing critical US intelligence gaps. It is named as a target of newly formed analytic cells,” the daily said.

“And fears about the security of its nuclear programme are so pervasive that a budget section on containing the spread of illicit weapons divides the world into two categories: Pakistan and everybody else.”

US intelligence agencies were focused on two particularly worrisome scenarios, the Post said.

First is the possibility that Pakistan’s nuclear facilities might come under attack by Islamist militants, as its army headquarters in Rawalpindi did in 2009.

Second is an “even greater concern that Islamist militants might have penetrated the ranks of Pakistan’s military or intelligence services, putting them in a position to launch an insider attack or smuggle out nuclear material”, it said.

“Concerns persist that extremists could seize components of the stockpile or trigger a war with neighbouring India.

“Pakistan also has a track record of exporting nuclear technology to countries that are on Washington’s blacklist,” the Post reported.

“US anxiety over Pakistan’s nuclear programme appears to be driven more by uncertainty about how it is run than specific intelligence indicating that its systems are vulnerable,” it said.

The budget documents indicate that US intelligence agencies were also focused on the security of the nuclear programme in India, the Post said, but gave no other details.

US surveillance of Pakistan extends far beyond its nuclear programme. There are several references in the black budget to expanding US scrutiny of chemical and biological laboratories.

The country is not thought to be running a rogue chemical or biological weapons programme, but US intelligence officials fear that Islamists could seize materials from government-run laboratories, the Post said.

The budget documents do not break down expenditures by country or estimate how much the US government spends to spy on Pakistan.

But Pakistan is at the centre of two categories – counter-terrorism and counter-proliferation – that together accounted for nearly half of the US intelligence community’s budget request for fiscal 2013.

US spy agencies have sought $16.6 billion to fight Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups and sought $6.86 billion to counter the spread of nuclear, biological and chemical weapons, the Post said.

IANS 2013-09-03 21:00:05

[+]

Tags: , , , , , ,





Featured

biniaz

Vancouver beauty queen Sahar Biniaz onto new ventures after Miss Universe Canada reign (w/ gallery)

LARISSA CAHUTE VANCOUVER DESI Life hasn’t always been glamorous for Vancouver beauty queen Sahar Biniaz. The Indian-born and Iran-raised beauty spent most of her elementary…
Continue Reading »

PNG0419NVAISAKHI-13_215499176

Gallery: 200,000 flood Surrey streets for annual Vaisakhi parade

VANCOUVER DESI About 200, 000 people came out for Surrey’s annual Vaisakhi parade on Saturday. Vaisakhi – which celebrates the Punjab harvest time and the…
Continue Reading »

kate main

Gallery: Duchess Catherine races to the rescue in heels on beachy Sydney tour

GORDON RAYNER THE DAILY TELEGRAPH RUNNING in slow-motion along a golden beach, the Duchess of Cambridge appeared to emulate one of the famous scenes from…
Continue Reading »

LOCAL NEWS

biniaz

Vancouver beauty queen Sahar Biniaz onto new ventures after Miss Universe Canada reign (w/ gallery)

LARISSA CAHUTE VANCOUVER DESI Life hasn’t always been glamorous for Vancouver beauty queen Sahar Biniaz. The Indian-born and Iran-raised beauty spent most of her elementary…
Continue Reading »

PNG0419NVAISAKHI-13_215499176

Gallery: 200,000 flood Surrey streets for annual Vaisakhi parade

VANCOUVER DESI About 200, 000 people came out for Surrey’s annual Vaisakhi parade on Saturday. Vaisakhi – which celebrates the Punjab harvest time and the…
Continue Reading »

Kirpans, stylized swords worn by initiated Sikh men and women as dictated by  their religious beliefs, are now allowed in embassies. Jason Payne/ PNG

Canada to allow Sikh kirpans in its embassies and missions abroad

JEFF LACROIX-WILSON OTTAWA CITIZEN Eight years after the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that kirpans – the ceremonial daggers worn by those of the Sikh…
Continue Reading »

Don't Miss...

File photo: Indian villagers gather near the body of an elephant in a field in the northeastern state of Assam on July 8, 2013. It is believed that the elephant was electrocuted by power lines as they walked through fields of growing rice at night . STRSTRDEL/AFP/Getty Images

Four elephants die from shoddy electrical wires in Indian forest

VANCOUVER DESI A wild elephant has died after it was electrocuted when it stumbled into low hanging electrical wires in a northeastern Indian forest, according…
Continue Reading »

Indian Lovers Party

Gallery: Weird Indian political party names and symbols

VANCOUVER DESI In a country with over 800 million eligible voters, which symbol you vote for is very important. The largest political parties have simple…
Continue Reading »

worship-India

Six-year-old worshipped for patch of hair on his back that has grown into a tail

VANCOUVER DESI A six-year-old Indian boy is being worshipped by villagers for a small patch of hair on his back that has grown into a…
Continue Reading »

underage-sex-pregnancy-Britain

Opinion: Britain’s youngest mom — 12-year-old — isn’t a case for the midwife, it’s a case for the police

ALLISON PEARSON THE DAILY TELEGRAPH  A girl aged 12 years and three months became Britain’s youngest mother over the weekend. She was still at primary…
Continue Reading »

nude bath

PETA India urges health ministry to ban sale of animal-tested products

IANS New Delhi – Animal rights group PETA has urged India’s health ministry to ban the marketing and sale of animal-tested cosmetics and household products….
Continue Reading »


Bollywood Latest

Porn Queen-desi

Sunny Leone to host MTV reality dating show

IANS New Delhi — Indo-Canadian adult film star Sunny Leone is back to where she started her career in Hindi showbiz – the small screen….
Continue Reading »

Bollywood actress Priyanka Chopra showcases a creation by designer Neeta Lulla on the sixth day of the Lakme Fashion Week (LFW) summer/resort 2014 in Mumbai on March 16, 2014. STRSTRDEL/AFP/Getty Images

Mary Kom shoot harder than hardest for Priyanka

IANS Mumbai  – Months of turmoil for Mary Kom have been “harder than the hardest” for Bollywood actress Priyanka Chopra, who plays the title role…
Continue Reading »

Bollywood

Amitabh Bachchan’s Bhoothnath Returns screened before Indian president

IANS New Delhi  – Megastar Amitabh Bachchan’s latest film Bhoothnath Returns, a fun-filled film which also highlights the importance of voting, was screened for President…
Continue Reading »