The shocking, three-decade story of A. Q. Khan and Pakistan’s nuclear program, and the complicity of the United States in the spread of nuclear weaponry.
On December 15, 1975, A. Q. Khan—a young Pakistani scientist working in Holland—stole top-secret blueprints for a revolutionary new process to arm a nuclear bomb. His original intention, and that of his government, was purely patriotic—to provide Pakistan a counter to India’s recently unveiled nuclear device. However, as Adrian Levy and Catherine Scott-Clark chillingly relate in their masterful investigation of Khan’s career over the past thirty years, over time that limited ambition mushroomed into the world’s largest clandestine network engaged in selling nuclear secrets—a mercenary and illicit program managed by the Pakistani military and made possible, in large part, by aid money from the United States, Saudi Arabia, and Libya, and by indiscriminate assistance from China.
Most unnerving, the authors reveal that the sales of nuclear weapons technology to Iran, North Korea, and Libya, so much in the news today, were made with the clear knowledge of the American government, for whom Pakistan has been a crucial buffer state and ally—first against the Soviet Union, now in the “war against terror.” Every successive American presidency, from Jimmy Carter to George W. Bush, has turned a blind eye to Pakistan’s nuclear activity—rewriting and destroying evidence provided by its intelligence agencies, lying to Congress and the American people about Pakistan’s intentions and capability, and facilitating, through shortsightedness and intent, the spread of the very weapons we vilify the “axis of evil” powers for having and fear terrorists will obtain. Deception puts our current standoffs with Iran and North Korea in a startling new perspective, and makes clear two things: that Pakistan, far from being an ally, is a rogue nation at the epicenter of world destabilization; and that the complicity of the United States has ushered in a new nuclear winter.
Based on hundreds of interviews in the United States, Pakistan, India, Israel, Europe, and Southeast Asia, Deception is a masterwork of reportage and dramatic storytelling by two of the world’s most resourceful investigative journalists. Urgently important, it should stimulate debate and command a reexamination of our national priorities. Download and start listening now!