“The Director of Intelligence told me that he said, ‘Be prepared to be bombed.’ Be prepared to go back to the Stone Age,” Musharraf remembers.
It was this quote from Musharraf, attributed to Richard Armitage following Sept 11, 2001 that caused quite a flutter in Washington D.C. this week. The program on which he made these remarks, 60 Minutes, was telecast tonight on CBS in which Musharraf spoke about al Qaeda, Taliban, and Dr. A.Q. Khan.
Unlike Katie Couric’s interview of Condoleezza Rice which preceded this program, Steve Kroft, the interviewer did not give a good time to Musharraf, especially when it came to A.Q.Khan.
Musharraf describes Khan as a self-promoter obsessed with fame and power, a lone wolf who exerted person control over key aspects of Pakistan’s nuclear operations and was able to transfer top secret technology with no official help.
“By your own account in the book, A.Q. Khan shipped two dozen centrifuges to North Korea and 18 tons of material and centrifuges to Libya and Iran. How was all of this material moved without someone in the government or the army finding out about it?” Kroft asks.
“First of all, bringing these centrifuges or their parts, these are not huge elements. They can be put into your car and moved,” Musharraf replies.
“You think he moved 18 tons worth of material in his car?” Kroft asks.
Musharraf says the materials, heading to Libya and Iran ” must have been transported many times.”
“But we’ve been to your nuclear facilities enough to know that they’re very heavily guarded and the military is all around them,” Kroft remarks.
How did all this material get out and get sent to Libya?
“What is the military meant for?” asks Musharraf. “That is to safe guard them from outside attack.”
“So obviously your internal controls were a little weak,” Kroft states.
“No, they were not weak,” the president disagreed. “They were very strong.”
“Except for the man who was running the operation,” Kroft remarks.
“Yes of course. He tells his security man this vehicle has to move, okay, to the airport. Okay. Put it in a C-130 and send it,” Musharraf says.[Musharraf: In the Line of Fire]
The interview was short and was a teaser for his upcoming book In the Line of Fire: A Memoir. But it ended on an ominous note citing that his predecessors have either been exiled, imprisoned or died under mysterious circumstances.