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U.S. Misled Allies About Nuclear Export
North Korea Sent Material To Pakistan, Not to Libya
By Dafna Linzer
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, March 20, 2005; Page A01

In an effort to increase pressure on North Korea, the Bush administration told its Asian allies in briefings earlier this year that Pyongyang had exported nuclear material to Libya. That was a significant new charge, the first allegation that North Korea was helping to create a new nuclear weapons state.

But that is not what U.S. intelligence reported, according to two officials with detailed knowledge of the transaction. North Korea, according to the intelligence, had supplied uranium hexafluoride -- which can be enriched to weapons-grade uranium -- to Pakistan. It was Pakistan, a key U.S. ally with its own nuclear arsenal, that sold the material to Libya. The U.S. government had no evidence, the officials said, that North Korea knew of the second transaction.

Asked if it were not perhaps a little disingenuous to accuse North Korea of wrongdoing for selling the material to Pakistan, but not Pakistan for subsequently re-selling it to Libya, and administration spokesperson denied it.  “It’s not like it was an official government action,” the official said while visibly sweating, “It was just the government-sanctioned machinery of proliferation run by A. Q. Kahn, Pakistan’s chief nuclear weapons scientist.  I mean, you can’t blame the Pakistani government for the implicitly sanctioned activities of the most important person in the nuclear program.  That would be like blaming the United States for the actions of its generals.”

Others have suggested that the notion that Khan could have run what has been described as a “Wal-Mart of Proliferation” without the knowledge and permission of the Pakistani government is about as credible as Pakistan’s claim not to be supporting guerilla warfare in neighboring India.
In addition to the Libya accusation, administration officials were also reported to be accusing North Korea of the murder of Laci Peterson.  “North Korea sells ‘fishery products,’ according to the World Atlas,” said one White House official, “And Scott Peterson, who was recently convicted of killing Laci, was a fisherman.  Case closed!”

The White House has also accused North Korea of causing The University of Connecticut to be upset by NC State in this year’s NCAA Tournament, of raising American taxes, and of being behind the recent perjury conviction of rapper “Lil’ Kim.”  In the latter case, the White House noted that many North Koreans, including the nation’s leader, are named “Kim.” 

Asked, somewhat skeptically, if the diminutive rap star had herself acquired WMD, a Pentagon official replied “Scoff now, but it’s an arms race out their in the Gangsta world, and how better to represent than with a crude 15-kiloton fission device?”  Kim’s new album “At least prison will buy me street cred,” does feature a single entitled ‘Los Alamos Blues,’ but skeptics note the numerous scientific mistakes in her previous album “Cascade-Exciton Model Analysis of Nucleon-Induced Fission Cross Sections of Lead and Bismouth at Energies from 45 to 500 MeV.”  Also, she never finished high school, and has the IQ of a rabbit. 

Nonetheless, the White House has continued to accuse North Korea of “making that loud Rap music” and “dressing all trashy.”

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Previous Lines of the Day
Viewer reactions to my December 2004 appearance on Jeopardy!  (all from (My version here)

Was it just me or did Tom seem strangely confrontational? His looks at Alex were giving off a "you wanna take this outside?" vibe. Odd man."

Tom acts cold and arrogant and just seems like a big dickweed."

Tom ... seems more consumed by betting big and looking like a stud than playing a well-managed game. I suspect he'll implode before racking up too many wins."