Make Nuclear Proliferation a Punishable Crime

Article excerpt

The "father of the Pakistani bomb" and wanton nuclear proliferator, Abdul Qadeer Khan, has, in recent weeks, provided the world with clear evidence - as if we needed any - of why nuclear proliferation should be criminalized.

The laws governing the illegal trade of nuclear materials and components are full of holes and vary too widely from country to country.

In order to provide Pakistan with a nuclear bomb, Dr. Khan had to create an expansive network that moved nuclear designs, scientists, and even partially enriched uranium across scores of countries and outside the supervision of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), countless law enforcement authorities, and, until recently, the most sophisticated intelligence agencies in the world.

Khan, thankfully, has been sidelined and put under careful watch - though, unfortunately, under presidential pardon - in Pakistan. However, many of his key lieutenants are still at large.

After interrogating Khan's alleged chief coconspirator, B.S.A. Tahir, Malaysian authorities released a report last Friday revealing the extent of Khan's network and the key people involved in developing Libya's illicit nuclear program. Now Swiss, German, British, and Turkish police are scrambling to find these alleged coconspirators believed to reside in their countries. Wherever these individuals are hiding, the initial evidence certainly suggests that they were critical in developing and maintaining one of the largest, most sophisticated, and disturbing nuclear black markets in the world.

As of Monday, the Iranian Foreign Ministry acknowledged, "We have bought some things [components for nuclear programs] from some dealers but we don't know what the source was or what country they came from.... It happens that some of those [dealers] were from some subcontinent countries."

One such individual is Peter Griffin, a British engineer implicated by Mr. Tahir as instrumental in Khan's work to build Libya's clandestine nuclear facility and train its technicians.

According to The New York Times, Mr. …