Against Clandestine Proliferation
Over the past six years, the public has been bombarded with articles about the failure of the US Intelligence Community, particularly the Central Intelligence Agency, to assess accurately the status of Saddam Hussein's nuclear, chemical, and biological weapon programs. Some of this criticism is justified. (For an explanation of how this failure in Iraq came about, see Chapter 5.) Overall, however, the performance of the US Intelligence Community over the decades has been on target more often than not in assessing the status of clandestine nuclear weapon programs in individual countries. The effort against nuclear proliferation has always had the highest priority, although special attention has been paid to some countries' efforts to develop clandestine chemical or biological weapons programs. One perennial problem has been the priority given to the use of scarce intelligence collection and analytical assets—which often are diverted to monitor crises—to understand the activities, intentions, and capabilities of a diverse collection of nations, most of which are not open to rigorous monitoring (see Appendix G). With non-state actors, the track record in monitoring clandestine proliferation efforts is less clear; little is known publicly about the success the United States has had against efforts by terrorist organizations to obtain nuclear, chemical, or biological weapons. It is prudent, therefore, that we discuss separately the track record in monitoring the clandestine efforts of nation-states from the record with non-state actors. However, the two did come together in the case of the A. Q. Khan black market nuclear proliferation network, which we discuss at the end of this chapter.
The experience of the US Intelligence Community in South Asia is mixed. It seems that US scientists and intelligence knew almost as much about the nuclear program in Pakistan as did Pakistani scientists.1 This is in contrast with