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124 Corruption is a critical, under-recognized contributor to nuclear proliferation. With the possible exception of North Korea, corruption was a central enabling factor in all of the nuclear weapons programs of both states and terrorist groups in the past two decades. Indeed, corruption is likely to be essential to most cases of nuclear proliferation. Unless a state or group can get all the materials and technology needed for its nuclear weapons program from some combination of its own indigenous resources; outside sources motivated only by a desire to help that nuclear program; or outside sources genuinely fooled into providing technology that they believe is for another purpose, illicit contributions from foreign sources motivated by cash will be central to a nuclear program’s success. New steps to combat corruption in the nuclear sector, and in security, law enforcement, and border control agencies that are responsible for preventing nuclear theft, technology leakage, and smuggling are essential to strengthen the global nonproliferation regime. Of course, since corruption and proliferation are both secret activities, no precise measure of the frequency of proliferation-related corruption is available . No one knows if the documented cases represent nearly all of the cases that have occurred, or only the tip of the iceberg. This chapter uses a brief summary of the global black-market network led by Pakistan’s Abdul Qadeer (A. Q.) Khan to illustrate the broader phenomenon; it lays out a taxonomy of different ways in which corruption can contribute to proliferation (or slow it, in some cases); and it offers the outline of an approach to reduce the dangers that are posed by corruption-proliferation linkages. 6 Corruption and Nuclear Proliferation matthew bunn 06 0328-0 ch6.qxd 7/15/09 3:48 PM Page 124 Defining Corruption Transparency International defines corruption succinctly as “the misuse of entrusted power for private gain.”1 This misuse of power applies not only to corrupt public officials, but also to private employees with entrusted power: a company official who gives a lucrative contract to one supplier rather than another in return for kickbacks is clearly corrupt. Access to sensitive nuclear weapons–related technology and information also represents entrusted power. Selling that entrusted information or technology for private gain, knowing that it probably will be used to contribute to a nuclear weapons program in a foreign state, is a corrupt act—as the term is used in this chapter—even if the sellers manage to carry out their activities in locations where the laws are so weak that the sellers are not violating local law. Many of the corrupt participants in recent proliferation cases fall into this category; they did not hold public office, but rather used their access to key information, equipment, or materials (which had been entrusted to them by states, or firms acting on behalf of states) to earn millions of dollars from illicit transfers. By this definition, for example, Peter Griffin, a British citizen, who was a key supplier of uranium enrichment centrifuge technology to Pakistan knowing full well that Pakistan would use this technology to produce nuclear weapons, would be considered corrupt, even though he did not hold public office, and even though he has long argued (perhaps correctly) that at the time of his activities, the export control laws that were in place were so weak that his activities were not illegal.2 On the other hand, the firms that sold centrifugerelated equipment to Iraq in the apparently genuine belief that it was going to be used in the oil industry would not be considered corrupt, though they certainly had inadequate procedures in place to manage sensitive technologies. Between these extremes, there is the gray area where individuals may be able to convince themselves that nothing is amiss with a high-technology purchase , even when there are glaring signs of proliferation intent—which is the reason why many countries’export control laws limit exports that the exporter “knows or has reason to know” will be used for illicit weapons programs.3 By this definition, people who spied—that is, provided entrusted information —for cash would be considered corrupt, but people who spied or transferred sensitive technology and materials because they believed in the cause of those who they were helping would not. In the case of major transfers of information , equipment, and materials for nuclear weapons, however, this definition does not provide a limitation. While there have been ideological rationalizations involved in technology transfers, all of the major transfers Corruption and...


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