Compiled by Bill Gertz
U.S. seeks access to Pakistani nuclear scientists
U.S. intelligence officials last month asked Pakistanís government to grant access to two nuclear scientists who are suspected of helping the Taliban and Al Qaida develop nuclear weapons, according to U.S. officials.
A senior Bush administration official said the U.S. government has renewed requests to question Sultan Bashiruddin Mahmood and Abdul Majeed.
The U.S. intelligence community wants to question the scientists more thoroughly inside the United States, the official said.
Islamabad is resisting the request because it fears that secrets related to Pakistanís nuclear weapons program will be released to the Americans.
The CIA and Energy Department, which monitors nuclear weapons threats, are particularly interested in Sultan Bashiruddin, who was instrumental in the Khushab nuclear reactor and the use of the facility in producing nuclear weapons.
The two scientists were taken into custody by Pakistani authorities in October at the request of the United States. U.S. intelligence believes the two men were working in Afghanistan through a non-government organization known as Ummah Ta'meer-I-Nao. Through the group, the men are believed to have worked with the Al Qaida terrorist group and Osama Bin Laden.
Middle East Newsline - 13 August 2002