Editor’s note: The following story is adapted from Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin, the premium, online intelligence newsletter published by the founder of WND. Annual subscriptions are available now for the discounted price of $99 a year, which includes a free copy of Farah’s latest book, “Taking America Back.” Monthly subscriptions are also available to credit card users for just $9.95.
MI6, Britain’s secret intelligence service, has identified six Pakistani scientists working in Iran’s nuclear bomb program who have been “advising al-Qaida on how to weaponize fissionable materials it has now obtained.”
MI6 and the International Atomic Energy Agency believe the scientists have played a major role in enabling Iran to be “well advanced in providing uranium enriched materials for nuclear bombs,” said Alexander Cirilovic, a nuclear terrorism expert in Paris.
Both high-level MI6 and CIA sources have confirmed the scientists would only have been allowed to assist al-Qaida with the authority of Iran’s unpredictable President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
The revelation comes at a time when Washington has increased pressure on Tehran to give up its nuclear weapons program.
The scientists worked for Dr. A.Q. Khan, the “father of the Islamic bomb,” who is now under house arrest in Pakistan after confessing he had provided both Iran and North Korea with details of how to make their own nuclear bombs.
The MI6 report to other intelligence services followed bin Laden’s recent threats to unleash a new wave of terror – with Britain and the United States his prime targets.
Recently, from his lair in north Pakistan, bin Laden boasted that “al-Qaida did not find it difficult to obtain the weapons grade material. We have contacts in Russia with other militant groups. Enough material to make a tactical nuke is available for ?15 million.”
Former CIA operative David Dastych, a G2B contributor from Poland and one of the agency’s experts on nuclear terrorism, said: “The traffic in nuclear materials is ongoing and growing.”
Bin Laden’s material is hidden somewhere in the mountain fastness between Iran and Afghanistan.
Its proximity to Iran’s own nuclear facilities has made it easy for the Pakistani scientists to assist al-Qaida.
Like Khan, all are strong al-Qaida supporters. One, Bashiruddin Mahmood, was briefly arrested in 2004 by the Pakistan intelligence service.
He said he had met the Taliban leader, Mullah Omar and a high-ranking al-Qaida operative.
In his statement Mahmood admitted: “They had asked me to devise a radiological bomb. It would be constructed from nuclear material wrapped in conventional high explosive which bin Laden had obtained from a nuclear storage site in Uzbekistan. I refused to do so.”
Despite a CIA request to have him transferred to the United States for further questioning, Mahmood was set free. Shortly afterward he fled from Pakistan to Iran.
With him went five other senior scientists at the Khan laboratories. They were Muhammad Zubair, Saeed Akhhter, Murad Qasim, Imtaz Baig and Waheed Nasir.
They had helped Khan to successfully detonate Pakistan’s first nuclear bomb at a test site beneath the Baluchistan desert.
“Depending on the quality of the fissionable material bin Laden has obtained, the combined scientific skills would be able to create considerably more than a “dirty bomb,” said Cirilovic.
Gordon Thomas is an Irish journalist specializing in international intelligence matters and a regular contributor to Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin.