14 June 2011

U.S. Man Accused of Surveying Pakistani Nuke Sites


A U.S. citizen has been taken into custody in Pakistan on suspicion of spying on the nation's nuclear installations, the Press Trust of India reported on Sunday (see GSN, June 10).

A court in the Pakistani capital on Saturday ordered Matthew Barrett into official custody for two weeks. The 27-year-old man is to be deported as soon as possible. The Interior Ministry had previously invalidated Barrett's visa, and authorities said his presence in the nuclear-armed South Asian nation constituted a breach of the Pakistani Foreigners Act.
Barrett at one point was reported to be in the Fateh Jang area, which houses multiple nuclear sites. He reportedly traveled to certain sites but apparently left the area in May after a fight with security personnel (Rezaul Laskar, Press Trust of India/Hindustan Times, June 12).

Meanwhile, Indian Defense Minister A.K. Antony on Friday voiced his worries over the security of Pakistan's nuclear weapons against diversion by extremists, the Pioneer newspaper reported.

"Our only worry about Pakistan's nuclear arsenal is that there is always a danger and threat of going to the hands of militants and terrorists. That is our only worry," Antony said to journalists.

The Indian defense minister said he was not concerned by recent reports of Pakistan's expanding nuclear arsenal.

India's longtime antagonist is now projected to have a nuclear stockpile slightly larger than New Delhi's, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. There has also been speculation that Islamabad is seriously preparing to cross the nuclear threshold through the production of low-intensity nuclear-capable missiles that would be used in the event of an Indian invasion (see GSN, June 8).

"We are closely monitoring what is happening around us," Antony said. "We know Pakistan is strengthening their nuclear arsenal. We are also taking care of it. We are not unduly worried because we are capable of meeting any threat" (Pioneer, June 13).

[Information contained in BKNT E-mail is considered Attorney-Client and Attorney Work Product privileged, copyrighted and confidential. Views that may be expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect those of any government, agency, or news organization.]

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