On the 27th of January two house subcommittees would hold a hearing entitled "A.Q. Khan's Nuclear Wal-Mart: Out of Business or Under New Management?" it what amounted to be not much more than a confusing and sophomoric attempt to determine if AQ Khan and Pakistan's nuclear proliferation network is still in business.
The hearing centered on the testimonies of only two witnesses, one of which, Mr. Mark Fitzpatrick who only last month delivered a 176-page dossier that concluded that despite Khan having been placed under house arrest by the Pakistan government in 2004, his proliferation network was still alive and kicking.
Interrupting a witness the Congressional Subcommittee Chairman Brad Sherman stated "I trust Pakistani interrogators more than our own...[sic]" . See the video below:
Considering Brad Sherman's frustration with Pervez Musharraf's lack of cooperation in providing us information of AQ Khan's nuclear proliferation network we found his proclivity to trust Pakistani interrogators over our own not only bizarre, but deeply troubling. When it was suggested by his co-chaiman that perhaps Musharraf is not exactly in charge, he simply dismissed it out of hand.
In a bizarre twist, it is now being reported in Pakistan that the "experts" testifying before the congressional committee on Wednesday agreed that the AQ Khan network “is no longer in existence”. Surely one must wonder what could have possibly happened in a one month time to suddenly convince the United States that AQ Khan's network has completely been dismantled.
We are also surprised that the committee didn't call in Ann Patterson the Ambassador designate to Pakistan who seemed to let slip in her confirmation hearing only a week before on the 20th of June that:
"We recognize the progress made by the Pakistan government in disabling the A.Q. Khan proliferation network and the steps taken to ensure that such a network cannot be reconstituted."
It wouldn't be until the 27th of June at 12:05 PM that State Department spokesman Sean McCormack would state the following in the daily press briefing:
"I haven't seen the report. I know that -- to my knowledge, the network as we knew it is out of business. I can't tell you whether or not there are any copycats out there or any elements that were associated with the A.Q. Khan network who are attempting to continue to engage in these kind of illicit activities. The -- I don't think we know everything about the activities of the A.Q. Khan network. I think it is a matter of continued interest not only to us, but to others. And I know that our folks continue to take a look at it."
So... is AQ Khan's network still in operation? According to the State Department,
"All signs point to YES!" ... "Possibly No" ... The answer is fuzzy...
"Ask again Later"