- The Washington Times - Sunday, February 1, 2004

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (Agence France-Presse) — Pakistani nuclear pioneer Abdul Qadeer Khan and four others have confessed to leaking nuclear secrets to groups working for Iran, Libya and North Korea, an official close to the government’s probe said last night.

“Dr. Qadeer and four others have accepted that they were involved in leaking nuclear know-how outside Pakistan to groups working for Iran, Libya and North Korea,” said the official, who was not named.

It was the first time North Korea had been named as a recipient of nuclear information from those under investigation.

The information was leaked between 1986 and 1993, he added.

The official said an 11-page report carrying the confessions had been submitted to President Pervez Musharraf.

Asked whether criminal proceedings would be initiated against those who have confessed, the official said: “It is up to the National Command Authority to take a decision, of which the President Pervez Musharraf is the chairman.”

It was not clear whether Mr. Khan had admitted to giving centrifuge designs for uranium enrichment to Iran and Libya, he said.

Another government official said Gen. Musharraf might address the nation soon.

Government officials have said that Mr. Khan is a primary suspect in the reported transfer of Pakistan’s nuclear data to other nations in the late 1980s and early 1990s through an international black market trading in nuclear technology.

The investigation follows information handed over by the United Nations International Atomic Energy Agency from Iran, which referred to the possible involvement of Pakistani scientists and officials in selling nuclear secrets for personal profit.

Mr. Khan has been questioned regularly since the investigation started, and the 66-year-old scientist was fired as a government adviser Saturday to “facilitate” the probe.

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