Jeffrey LewisPettiness Toward IAEA Undermines International Security

Does Bush dodge photo ops with
ElBaradei? Even more pettiness?

Bill Broad and David Sanger have must reading in The New York Times today. They report that the Bush Administration has essentially no relationship with the IAEA, stifling investigation of the A.Q. Khan network.

Broad and Sanger open with a fascinating story of a petty dispute that emerged when inspectors discovered a nuclear weapons blueprints in Libya:

The experts from the United States and the I.A.E.A., the United Nations nuclear watchdog – in a reverberation of their differences over Iraq’s unconventional weapons – began quarreling over control of the blueprints. The friction was palpable at Libya’s Ministry of Scientific Research, said one participant, when the Americans accused international inspectors of having examined the design before they arrived. After hours of tense negotiation, agreement was reached to keep it in a vault at the Energy Department in Washington, but under I.A.E.A. seal.

It’s a specific example of the broad hostility that Washington feels toward Vienna. “I can’t remember the last time we saw anything of a classified nature from Washington,” one of the agency’s senior officials told Broad and Sanger.

On a related note, I can’t seem to find a photo of Bush with ElBaradei, even though the two have clearly met. Is this some further, unexplained White House pettiness?


  1. Chris (History)

    It is no surprise that the Bush Administration would want nothing to do with the A.Q. Kahn investigations going on in the IAEA.

    For one thing, the clear disdane for any organization that fails to follow the neocon party line isn’t going to get any air time or credibility (they hate being told they are wrong despite any supporting mountain of evidence).

    Second, the investigation (of which the results would be reported globally) could again reveal that Mr. Cheney was informed by the DIA and CIA that Kahn was selling nuclear technology on the black market when he was Assistant Secretary of Defense for the Reagain Administration. At the time, he was overseeing the sale of ~120 F-16 fighters to Pakistan – yet he failed to inform the president of this discovery so that the sale would still go through.

    Hence, he helped sell our national security down the river to promote is own career prospects. Since the result has helped provide nuclear arms to the “Axis of Evil”, this administration would find itself in a rather difficult position.

    For whatever reason, the conservative press has failed to report on this. I can’t imagine why that might be?