Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Switzerland Frees Suspected Smuggling Nuclear Technology

Swiss authorities have released from jail a man suspected of smuggling atomic technology to Libya and Iran as part of the nuclear black market of Abdul Qadeer Khan, officials and family members said Monday.

Khan is the one who sold atomic secrets to Iran, and was, in turn, pardoned by Musharraf. I never have understood why that story disappeared from the public radar.

The suspect, Urs Tinner, was freed Dec. 22 after more than four years in investigative detention, Swiss officials said. They added that his brother Marco remained in jail because of worries that he still had access to nuclear-weapons secrets.

Spying seems to be a family business: The developments were a new phase in Switzerland’s long efforts to prosecute the family of Swiss engineers, including the Tinner patriarch, Friedrich. All three are suspected of criminal export violations. The father was released from jail in 2006 pending legal action.

In May, the president of Switzerland confirmed that the government had destroyed a trove of computer files and other material documenting the family’s business dealings. He said that the action was taken to keep plans for nuclear arms and technologies from ever falling into terrorist hands. But in interviews last summer with The New York Times, American officials said they had urged the destruction less to thwart terrorists than to hide evidence of a secret relationship between the Tinners and the C.I.A. They said that the family provided a unique lens on the secret activities of Libya, Iran and Dr. Khan.

Now that's interesting: a secret relationship between the Tinners, who sold atomic secrets to North Korea, Iran and Libya, and the CIA. A way to monitor illicit activity, it is said, yet a facilitation of behavior that the US government denounced publicly.

No comments:

Post a Comment