- The Washington Times - Monday, March 15, 2004

OAK RIDGE, Tenn. (AP) — Claiming one victory in the fight against weapons of mass destruction, U.S. officials yesterday displayed a few examples of the tons of nuclear-weapons gear retrieved from Libya.

The display included a dozen of the aluminum casings that would have enclosed high-speed centrifuges to separate weapons fuel from ordinary uranium hexafluoride gas. Guards armed with M-4 assault rifles flanked the display and encircled the tent where officials showed off the haul.

The equipment was part of a shipment of 55,000 pounds of gear the United States flew out of Libya in January, after Col. Moammar Gadhafi agreed to give up his country’s nuclear-weapons program.

Libya bought most of its nuclear equipment from an underground supply network led by Abdul Qadeer Khan, the father of Pakistan’s nuclear-weapons program. Mr. Khan admitted this year he sold such equipment to Libya, Iran and North Korea, but Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf immediately pardoned him.

Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham said the 50 crates of equipment represented a breakthrough in the fight against the spread of nuclear weapons.

“All of the ingredients were available for a weapons program,” Mr. Abraham said. “Happily, this equipment is no longer in Libya.”

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