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CNN LIVE AT DAYBREAK
Source: Scientist Admits Selling Nuke Technology
Aired February 2, 2004 - 06:06 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: Now we know for sure. He had been a suspect all along, and now the founder of Pakistan's nuclear program has confessed. Government officials say he sold nuclear technology to Iran, Libya and North Korea.
More details now from CNN's Ash-har Quraishi live on the phone from Lahore, Pakistan.
Good morning -- Ash-har.
ASH-HAR QURAISHI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Carol.
Well, Dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan, according to an official we spoke to, did confess in a written statement to transferring technology to Iran, North Korea and Libya. Now, he had been at the center of an ongoing investigation that has been under way here, an internal investigation that the Pakistani government has been conducting here since late November.
Now, they have been very careful as to the handling of this, because Dr. Khan is considered an imminent scientist here in Pakistan and a national hero. But right now, we understand that he is under heavy guard at his residence in Islamabad. He is not allowed to contact anybody. The phones have been shut off.
Now, it's unclear as to what exactly will happen to Dr. Khan. The government has been saying that while this investigation was ongoing that anybody found to be involved in proliferation of nuclear technology would be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
It's unclear as to whether or not this will go to the courts or whether or not some sort of administrative action will be taken.
Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf, however, chaired a meeting of the National Command Authority, which is in charge of nuclear assets here in Pakistan, on Saturday, was briefed on the investigation. We understand that he has received a full report of the conclusion of this investigation, as well as the confession by Dr. Khan.
And he is expected to address the nation later this week, following the Eid holiday, the Muslim holiday here in Pakistan, which concludes on Thursday, at which time he is expected to formally announce the conclusion of this investigation, as well as this confession by Dr. Khan and what steps will be taken next -- Carol.
COSTELLO: Well, Ash-har, you know, Americans have a vested interest in how much nuclear technology was sold to countries like North Korea, for instance. Will we ever know just how much information this scientist sold to countries like North Korea? Is he spilling information?
QURAISHI: Well, it's unclear right now. We're still waiting for the official statement. We'll still waiting for the evidence to be presented. And, of course, if this goes to trial, then at that point we'll, of course, know more about what was actually going on behind the scenes.
Now, the government, up until this point, has been stressing that there has been no government involvement in this from offset of the investigation. They've said that if anybody acted to proliferate nuclear technology, it was individuals, not sanctioned by the government, acting for their own personal profit. And that's what they're maintaining right now.
But, of course, the extent to the proliferation, of course, we may not know for some time, if ever -- Carol.
COSTELLO: Ash-har Quraishi live on the phone from Pakistan this morning.
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