In non-remarkable news from the 1990s, the Washington Post reports meta-proliferator A.Q. Kahn says he transferred nuclear weapons know-how to North Korea:
Khan has made available documents that he says support his claim that he personally transferred more than $3 million in payments by North Korea to senior officers in the Pakistani military, which he says subsequently approved his sharing of technical know-how and equipment with North Korean scientists.
One “senior Pakistani official” (anonymous, natch) quoted in the WaPo article said Kahn’s claim was bogus because the documents in question are “not on any official letterhead and bears no seal.” While a smile is a thin disguise, the letterhead theory is similarly pretty thin non-proof of the events, Mr. Anonymous Senior Pakistani Official.
The re-learned lesson for today seems to be this: history shows it is difficult and perhaps impossible to stop nuclear proliferation. And the corollary is trust Pakistani officials, both in the government and in the military, at your own peril. Of course Pakistan, who not that long ago couldn’t make bicycle chains or sewing machines, got some help along the way themselves.