Index

CIA Report Cites Continuing Weapons Proliferation


By Merle D. Kellerhals, Jr.
Washington File Staff Writer

Washington - Nations determined to maintain or expand their weapons
of mass destruction (WMD)and ballistic missile development programs
have been significantly insulating them against interdiction and
disruption, a Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) report says.

Additionally, the CIA report said that many of the countries that have
developed WMD and missile programs are rapidly trying to build
indigenous production capabilities to make themselves less dependent
on outside suppliers.

"Although these capabilities may not always be a good substitute for
foreign imports - particularly for more advanced technologies - in
many cases they may prove to be adequate," the semi-annual report
said. "In addition, as their domestic capabilities grow, traditional
recipients of WMD and missile technology could emerge as new suppliers
of technology and expertise."

The unclassified CIA report, "Acquisition of Technology Relating to
Weapons of Mass Destruction and Advanced Conventional Munitions," is
sent to Congress every six months. The current report, released
February 23, covers the period from January 1 to June 30, 2000.

The current report analyzes WMD and missile technology acquisition by
Iran, Iraq, North Korea, Libya, Syria, Sudan, India, Pakistan, and
Egypt, and also examines the key suppliers Russia, North Korea, China
and western nations.

"Some countries of proliferation concern are continuing efforts to
develop indigenous designs for advanced conventional weapons and
expand production capabilities, although most of these programs
usually rely heavily on foreign technical assistance," the report said
current trends suggest. "Many of these countries - unable to obtain
newer or more advanced arms - are pursuing upgrade programs for
existing inventories."

The CIA said it remains very concerned about Russian weapons
proliferation behavior, as a key supplier, and monitoring "will remain
a very high priority."

"Russian entities during the reporting period continued to supply a
variety of ballistic missile-related goods and technical know-how to
countries such as Iran, India, China, and Libya," the CIA said.

The reason for continued Russian proliferation stems, at least partly,
from Moscow's need for "badly needed foreign exchange through exports"
from the state-run defense and nuclear industries, which are also
strapped for funds, the report said.

The CIA said that because Iran was able to obtain technology and
materials from Russia, it accelerated Iranian development of the
Shahab-3 medium-range ballistic missile (MRBM).

In addition Russia has remained a significant source of dual-use
biotechnology, chemicals, production technology, and equipment for
Iran. "Russia's biological and chemical expertise make it an
attractive target for Iranians seeking technical information and
training on biological warfare (BW) and chemical warfare-agent (CW)
production processes," the report said.

North Korea continues to export significant ballistic missile-related
equipment and missile components, materials, and technical expertise
to countries in the Middle East, South Asia, and North Africa, the CIA
said.

The report also said China has continued to provide substantial
missile-related technical assistance to Pakistan. It has also provided
assistance to Iran, North Korea and Libya, the report said.

Iran remains one of the most active countries seeking to acquire WMD
and advanced conventional weapons technology from abroad to develop an
indigenous capability to produce biological, chemical and nuclear
weapons, the CIA said. It has sought the technology from Russia,
China, North Korea, and Western Europe.

"Iran, a Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) party, already has
manufactured and stockpiled several thousand tons of chemical weapons,
including blister, blood, and choking agents, and the bombs and
artillery shells for delivering them," the report said.

The CIA report may be viewed on the Web at
http://www.cia.gov/cia/publications/bian/bian_feb_2001.htm

(The Washington File is a product of the Office of International
Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. Website:
http://usinfo.state.gov)