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David Albright, President of the Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS), has a new book out (which I haven’t read) about AQ Khan and the nuclear black market called Peddling Peril: How the Secret Nuclear Trade Arms America’s Enemies.
In the “Acknowledgements” section of the book, Albright writes: “Many former government officials generously provided critical knowledge about the Khan Network, US policy, nuclear terrorism, and illicit nuclear trade. In particular, I would like to thank Richard Barlow, Joseph DeThomas, Robert Einhorn, Mark Fitzpatrick, Robert Galluci, Thomas Graham, Marc Grossman, Khalid Hassan, Fred McGoldrick, Rolf Mowatt-Larssen, Joseph Nye, Howard Shaffer and John Wolf.”
While most of these people are acknowledged experts in nuclear matters, the name Marc Grossman stands out as someone without particular expertise in this area. Since when has Marc Grossman been an informed source on these matters? Why is David Albright talking to Grossman? And why is Grossman talking to David Albright? And for how long has Grossman been plying Albright with ‘information‘?
Albright has been criticized by many in the intelligence community, and if Marc Grossman has always been a source, then it is no wonder that Alright is poorly regarded.
It is true that Grossman was a political officer at the Pakistan Embassy in the early 1970s when AQ Khan was getting started, and Grossman was Ambassador to Turkey from 1994-1997 when Turkish entities were involved in supplying the Khan network, and he was Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs in 2003 when a US-based Turkish company was caught supplying the Khan network – so he could conceivably assist Albright in some of these matters, but as far as I can tell, nobody has ever turned to Grossman for expertise on any of these issues, at least not publicly.
Is it possible that Grossman has been offering himself as a ’source’ to various authors to spin the stories away from the truth?
First, let’s revisit some of the Grossman’s activities according to former FBI translator Sibel Edmonds. In an article in the American Conservative by Phil Giraldi, Ms Edmonds describes systemic blackmail operations where Richard Perle and Douglas Feith supplied Grossman with information about specific (sexual, financial etc) vulnerabilities which could be used to blackmail people who had access to secret information, including nuclear secrets. Grossman would then give the information “to foreign agents who exploited the vulnerabilities of these people to recruit them as sources of information.”
In the same article, Ms Edmonds also states that the criminal network also “had a network of Turkish professors in various universities with access to government information.” In order to maintain and expand the network, a key asset, who was a professor of nuclear physics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, “would place a bunch of Ph.D. or graduate-level students in various nuclear facilities like Sandia or Los Alamos, and some of them were able to work for the Air Force.” Ms Edmonds further stated that “If for some reason they had difficulty getting a security clearance, Grossman would ensure that the State Department would arrange to clear them.”
Under oath (PDF), Ms Edmonds stated that Marc Grossman was on the payroll of various players in the nuclear black market and that he actively hindered efforts by the CIA to penetrate and unravel the nuclear black market. Ms Edmonds said that, in 2001, Grossman alerted his ‘business associates’ that nuclear consulting company, Brewster Jennings, was actually a CIA front company which was investigating the proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction. Grossman’s outing of Brewster Jennings forced the CIA to shutter the company, doing untold damage to the anti-proliferation efforts, and putting many agents and sources in danger.
In short, Marc Grossman was actually a vital player in the so-called ‘AQ Khan network,’ and should be facing criminal charges.
David Albright’s use of Grossman as a credible source in a book about ‘arming America’s enemies’ is beyond ironic, and it undermines everything that Albright says or writes, and yet for some reason Albright is consistently presented as a serious expert on TV and radio, and given a chance to peddle his book.