Thursday, December 09, 2010

US Concerns About Pakistani Nukes-WikiLeaks

US Concerns About Pakistani Nukes-WikiLeaks
One effort to remove jointly spent nuclear fuel from a Pakistani nuclear research reactor, for instance, has been put on hold for 3-4 months, or until such time as the media attention has abated.

Strategic Plans Division Director LtGen (ret) Kidwai can brief you (Richard Holbrooke) in detail on Pakistan's physical, personnel and command and control safeguards for Pakistan's nuclear weapons. Our major concern is not having an Islamic militant steal an entire weapon but rather the chance someone working in GOP facilities could gradually smuggle enough material out to eventually make a weapon. Islamabad has chafed over the U.S.-India 123 Agreement, arguing it also needs civilian nuclear power to meet energy demand; we have repeatedly advised the GOP that it should not expect a similar agreement because of AQ Khan's proliferation activities.
23. (C) Khan, who now is suffering from cancer, remains a national hero, albeit one who is closely monitored under house arrest. In 2008, he tried and failed to win his freedom through the courts. His network, we believe, has been disbanded, and the U.S. recently imposed additional sanctions on Khan and two of his Khan Research Labs associates. Also worth noting is that China has reportedly agreed to help Pakistan build two additional civilian nuclear reactors, neither of which is grandfathered under Nuclear Supplier Group agreements. Neither project is expected to begin for at least five years, and we have expressed our concerns about this proposed deal to both China and Pakistan.
Program of Record/F-16s
24. (C) DOD is requesting that Congress create a program of record for Pakistan, similar to that for Iraq and Afghanistan, which would provide consistent funding to implement our Security Development Plan (SDP), the vehicle we are using to train and equip both Pakistani Special Forces (SSG) and the Frontier Corps. Currently, DOD programs are delivered through a variety of separate funds with overlapping and sometimes conflicting authorities. The proposed DOD supplemental for Pakistan will total $400 million; the 2010 request will total $517 million.
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25. (C) The Bush administration commitment to provide Pakistan with $300 million annually in FMF expires in 2009, and we need to come to agreement with Pakistan on how to restructure its FMF program to meet its counter-insurgency needs. A major issue facing the new administration is whether to fund the remainder of Pakistan's F-16 program, a deal that was signed as a symbol of post-9/11 engagement after sanctions were lifted in 2002.
26. (C) Pakistan simply cannot afford to complete this $2 billion plus program to buy 18 new F-16s, upgrade 35 older Excess Defense Articles aircraft, upgrade a new base, and fund a munitions package. Pakistan has been late with several payments, and an Islamabad default would interrupt production lines for other critical U.S., Morocco and Turkey acquisitions. Pakistan originally planned to use the F-16s to offset Indian military superiority; they now are using F-16s against militant targets in the FATA. We are responding to Pakistan Air Force requests for Close Air Support training to improve their now limited precision targeting capability.
Anne Patterson Briefs Richard Holbrooke


Nuclear Security

27. (S) Since A.Q Khan's proliferation activities came to light in 2004, Pakistan has sought to rehabilitate its image as a nuclear technology bazaar. The GOP passed laws regulating exports of sensitive technologies and criminalizing proliferation, established an export control mechanism, joined the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism, and strengthened its National Command Authority and security apparatus to govern and protect its nuclear weapons. U.S. support has been instrumental to Pakistan's improved nonproliferation practices. U.S. experts have trained Pakistani counterparts in a wide variety of topics ranging from technology controls to physical protection, provided critical equipment, and encouraged Pakistan's adherence to international nonproliferation instruments.

28. (S) Over the last two months, however, local and international media reporting on U.S. and international fears that terrorists would acquire Pakistan's nuclear weapons has put the GOP on the defensive. These concerns centered on the proximity of some nuclear sites to territory under attack by the taliban, the rumored dispersal of Pakistan's nuclear assets, and the vulnerability of weapons and nuclear materials in transit. The GOP is particularly neuralgic to suggestions that its nuclear weapons could fall into terrorist hands and to reports of U.S. plans to seize the weapons in case of emergency. As a result, Pakistan has begun to pull back from some nonproliferation engagement with the USG, including refusing high-level discussions and delaying implementation of some programs. One effort to remove jointly spent nuclear fuel from a Pakistani nuclear research reactor, for instance, has been put on hold for 3-4 months, or until such time as the media attention has abated.

Indo-US Civil Nuclear Cooperation Undermines Pkaistan's Interests
Pakistani officials perceive the U.S.-India civil nuclear cooperation initiative as having unshackled India's nuclear weapons program. Prior to the initiative, they said, India faced a significant uranium supply constraint that forced it to choose literally between nuclear weapons or nuclear power. Now, however, India is able to secure foreign-supplied uranium for its civil nuclear power reactors, leaving it free to devote a greater share of its domestically-sourced uranium to produce plutonium for nuclear weapons. This perceived growth in nuclear weapons production capability blunts any numerical advantage in nuclear weapons Pakistan may have. 4. (C) Second, the increase in high-technology defense and space trade between India and the United States, Russia, and others has improved the quality of India's nuclear systems, according to Pakistani thinking. While Pakistan continues to face significant trade barriers and is subject to export denial regimes, Pakistani officials believe India is no longer held back by these constraints and is using market access to improve its nuclear delivery vehicles.
5. (C) Third, India's growing conventional military superiority, coupled with its Cold Start military doctrine of fast mobilization and rapid strike capability, poses a new level of threat, according to Pakistani counterparts. Indian plans and capabilities have forced Pakistan to rely more on nuclear weapons and less on conventional military capability to balance Indian force. Maria Sultan of SASSI suggested that Pakistani military planners now focus on the possibility of a two-front war and believe that Pakistan needs to transform its arsenal to smaller, tactical weapons that could be used on the battlefield against Indian conventional capabilities. The result of this trend is the need for greater stocks of fissile material to feed Pakistan's nuclear weapons requirement.
the Pakistanis believe that we have favored India over Pakistan -- most notably, by approving civil-nuclear cooperation with India -- and that we aim to dismantle Pakistan's nuclear weapons program, which, in light of their conventional military disadvantage vis-a-vis India, they consider critical to their national security. The military and intelligence establishment is also concerned that we are working with Pakistan's civilian leadership to limit the military's prerogative in determining Pakistan's national security policies. As a result of these concerns, the military and intelligence establishment has taken steps since Spring 2009 to hamper the operations of the Embassy.
Embassy. These steps include holding up the issuance and renewal of Pakistani visas for permanent Embassy staff and TDYers; denying import permits for armored vehicles for Embassy use; sabotaging our contract with DynCorp International to provide enhanced protective support for Consulate General Peshawar personnel; slowing down importation of U.S. assistance for the Pakistani government, including equipment for Pakistani law enforcement agencies; shutting down our Anti-Terrorism Assistance (ATA) training program at Pakistan's Sihala Police Academy.
In the Russian view, there is another serious threat that should be discussed: Pakistan. Pakistan is a nation with nuclear weapons, various delivery systems, and a domestic situation that is highly unstable. Russia assesses that Islamists are not only seeking power in Pakistan but are also trying to get their hands on nuclear materials. Russia is aware that Pakistani authorities, with help from the U.S., have created a well-structured system of security for protecting nuclear facilities, which includes physical protection. However, there are 120,000-130,000 people directly involved in Pakistan's nuclear and missile programs, working in these facilities and protecting them. However, regardless of the clearance process for these people, there is no way to guarantee that all are 100% loyal and reliable.
63. (S) In addition to the Islamist interest in these facilities, Russia also is aware that Pakistan has had to hire people to protect nuclear facilities that have especially strict religious beliefs, and recently the general educational and cultural levels in Pakistan has been falling. Due to these facts, extremist organizations have more opportunities to recruit people working in the nuclear and missile programs. Over the last few years extremists have attacked vehicles that carry staff to and from these facilities. Some were killed and a number were abducted and there has been no trace seen of them. Also, even if places are well protected, transportation of materials is a vulnerable point. In Pakistan, it is hard to guarantee the security of these materials during transportation. For these reasons, Russia thinks Pakistan should also be a particular focus of discussion.
China has "dumped" Pakistan in the Conference on Disarmament (CD), which is a "good sign." Tauscher urged P5 action to get Pakistan to stop blocking progress in the CD on the Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty (FMCT).
17. (S/NF) The UK has deep concerns about the safety and
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security of Pakistan's nuclear weapons, and China could play a big role in stabilizing Pakistan, Leslie said. Pakistan has accepted nuclear safety help, but under the IAEA flag (albeit British technicians). The Pakistanis worry that the U.S. "will drop in and take their nukes," Leslie said.

18. (S/NF) Day expressed support for the development of a "cold war"-like relationship between India and Pakistan that would "introduce a degree of certainty" between the two countries in their dealings.

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