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Report: CIA used Swiss to hinder Iran's N-work

Source: Press TV

Swiss engineers, a nuclear black market and the CIA

By William J. Broad and David E. Sanger, New York Times

The president of Switzerland stepped to a podium in Bern in May and read a statement confirming rumors that had swirled through the capital for months. The government, he acknowledged, had indeed destroyed a huge trove of computer files and other material documenting the business dealings of a family of Swiss engineers suspected of helping smuggle nuclear technology to Libya and Iran. (read full story)

The Central Intelligence Agency recruited a family of Swiss engineers in an attempt to thwart Iran's nuclear program, a report reveals.

According to a New York Times report released Monday, the CIA operation involved Friedrich Tinner and his two sons who reportedly were accused in Switzerland of working with the founder of Pakistan's nuclear weapons program, Abdul Qadeer Khan.

Although Khan had admitted in 2004 to passing nuclear information to foreigners - including Iran, North Korea and Libya, he said in a May interview with the Guardian that he had been forced to make the confessions.

Earlier in June, the Pakistani nuclear scientist denied any link to alleged nuclear documents found in possession of the Tinners. Pakistan's Foreign Ministry for its part, denied that 'foreigners' had gained access to the country's nuclear blueprints through Khan's network.

The US, however, alleges that Iran has developed its nuclear program by acquiring the necessary technology from Khan's network.

Iran says its activities, which are aimed at producing electricity to meet the demands of its growing population, have originated from domestically-developed technology, adding that it has never had dealings with Khan.

The Times report said that the Tinners were paid some $10 million by the CIA to obstruct the spread of nuclear technology around the world through Khan's network.

The Swiss case against the Tinners has been hampered by the destruction of relevant documents, which Swiss officials claim was to prevent their falling into terrorist hands.

According to the report, the destruction of the documents was more aimed at 'providing the CIA with cover than to stop terrorism'.

"The CIA feared that a trial would not just reveal the Tinners' relationship with the United States - and perhaps raise questions about American dealings with atomic smugglers - but would also imperil efforts to recruit new spies at a time of grave concern over Iran's nuclear program," read the report.

"We were very happy they were destroyed," The New York Times quoted a senior intelligence official in Washington as saying.

With the evidence files destroyed and a trial in question, the Tinners have kept quiet on the case.

"I have an agreement not to talk," the elder Tinner told a reporter in Haag, Switzerland.

... Payvand News - 08/26/08 ... --

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