11 February 2004
Bush Urges International Action Against Spread of WMD
Calls danger of sudden WMD attack "greatest threat today"
President Bush February 11 urged new international efforts to
combat the spread of weapons of mass destruction (WMD), saying
the most dangerous threat before the world is the potential for
terrorists or rogue nations to use chemical, biological, radiological
or nuclear weapons in a surprise attack.
"The greatest threat before humanity today is the possibility
of secret and sudden attack" with such weapons, Bush said
in a speech at the National Defense University in Washington.
"Every civilized nation has a stake" in preventing this
from happening, he said. "These materials and technologies,
and the people who traffic in them, cross many borders," Bush
said. "To stop this trade, the nations of the world must be
strong and determined. We must work together, we must act effectively."
He announced seven proposals that would modernize nonproliferation
laws, restrict the sale and transport of nuclear technologies and
equipment, and stop the sale of nuclear technology to countries
that do not agree to vigorous international inspections to ensure
their nuclear programs are for peaceful purposes.
Bush also urged the United Nations Security Council to quickly
approve a U.S.-proposed resolution that would require all states
to criminalize proliferation, enact strict export controls, and
secure all sensitive materials within their borders.
He also proposed to expand efforts to do away with weapons left
over from the Cold War.
In his remarks, Bush focused on two sources of the spread of weapons
of mass destruction -- rogue nations, and black market operatives
motivated by "greed, or fanaticism or both."
He described how U.S. and British agents were able to uncover
a nuclear black market network run by Abdul Qadeer Khan, the father
of Pakistan's nuclear program.
"For decades, Mr. Khan remained on the Pakistani government
payroll, earning a modest salary. Yet, he and his associates financed
lavish lifestyles through the sale of nuclear technologies and
equipment to outlaw regimes stretching from North Africa to the
Korean Peninsula," Bush said.
Khan has confessed his crimes, and his top associates are out
of business, Bush said. "The government of Pakistan is interrogating
the network's members, learning critical details that will help
them prevent it from ever operating again," and Pakistan's
President Pervez Musharraf has promised to share all the information
he learns about the Khan network and has assured the United States
that his country will never again be a source of proliferation,
Bush noted that a former customer of the Khan network, Libyan
leader Colonel Muammar Ghadafi, had recently "voluntarily
agreed to end his nuclear and chemical weapons programs, not to
pursue biological weapons, and to permit thorough inspections by
the International Atomic Energy Agency and the Organization for
the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons."
Ghadafi "made the right decision, and the world will be safer
once his commitment is fulfilled. We expect other regimes to follow
his example," Bush said.
Following is a transcript of President Bush's remarks:
THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
February 11, 2004
REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT ON WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION PROLIFERATION
Fort Lesley J. McNair - National Defense University
2:30 P.M. EST
THE PRESIDENT: Thanks for the warm welcome. I'm honored to visit
the National Defense University. For nearly a century, the scholars
and students here have helped to prepare America for the changing
threats to our national security. Today, the men and women of our
National Defense University are helping to frame the strategies
through which we are fighting and winning the war on terror. Your
Center for Counterproliferation Research and your other institutes
and colleges are providing vital insight into the dangers of a
new era. I want to thank each one of you for devoting your talents
and your energy to the service of our great nation.
I want to thank General Michael Dunn for inviting me here. I used
to jog by this facility on a regular basis. Then my age kicked
in. (Laughter.) I appreciate Ambassador Wolfgang Ischinger, from
Germany. Mr. Ambassador, thank you for being here today. I see
my friend, George Shultz, a distinguished public servant and true
patriot, with us. George, thank you for coming; and Charlotte,
it's good to see you. I'm so honored that Dick Lugar is here with
us today. Senator, I appreciate you taking time and thanks for
bringing Senator Saxby Chambliss with you, as well. I appreciate
the veterans who are here and those on active duty. Thanks for
letting me come by.
On September the 11th, 2001, America and the world witnessed a
new kind of war. We saw the great harm that a stateless network
could inflict upon our country, killers armed with box cutters,
mace, and 19 airline tickets. Those attacks also raised the prospect
of even worse dangers -- of other weapons in the hands of other
men. The greatest threat before humanity today is the possibility
of secret and sudden attack with chemical or biological or radiological
or nuclear weapons.
In the past, enemies of America required massed armies, and great
navies, powerful air forces to put our nation, our people, our
friends and allies at risk. In the Cold War, Americans lived under
the threat of weapons of mass destruction, but believed that deterrents
made those weapons a last resort. What has changed in the 21st
century is that, in the hands of terrorists, weapons of mass destruction
would be a first resort -- the preferred means to further their
ideology of suicide and random murder. These terrible weapons are
becoming easier to acquire, build, hide, and transport. Armed with
a single vial of a biological agent or a single nuclear weapon,
small groups of fanatics, or failing states, could gain the power
to threaten great nations, threaten the world peace.
America, and the entire civilized world, will face this threat
for decades to come. We must confront the danger with open eyes,
and unbending purpose. I have made clear to all the policy of this
nation: America will not permit terrorists and dangerous regimes
to threaten us with the world's most deadly weapons. (Applause.)
Meeting this duty has required changes in thinking and strategy.
Doctrines designed to contain empires, deter aggressive states,
and defeat massed armies cannot fully protect us from this new
threat. America faces the possibility of catastrophic attack from
ballistic missiles armed with weapons of mass destruction. So that
is why we are developing and deploying missile defenses to guard
our people. The best intelligence is necessary to win the war on
terror and to stop proliferation. So that is why I have established
a commission that will examine our intelligence capabilities and
recommend ways to improve and adapt them to detect new and emerging
We're determined to confront those threats at the source. We will
stop these weapons from being acquired or built. We'll block them
from being transferred. We'll prevent them from ever being used.
One source of these weapons is dangerous and secretive regimes
that build weapons of mass destruction to intimidate their neighbors
and force their influence upon the world. These nations pose different
challenges; they require different strategies.
The former dictator of Iraq possessed and used weapons of mass
destruction against his own people. For 12 years, he defied the
will of the international community. He refused to disarm or account
for his illegal weapons and programs. He doubted our resolve to
enforce our word -- and now he sits in a prison cell, while his
country moves toward a democratic future. (Applause.)
To Iraq's east, the government of Iran is unwilling to abandon
a uranium enrichment program capable of producing material for
nuclear weapons. The United States is working with our allies and
the International Atomic Energy Agency to ensure that Iran meets
its commitments and does not develop nuclear weapons. (Applause.)
In the Pacific, North Korea has defied the world, has tested long-range
ballistic missiles, admitted its possession of nuclear weapons,
and now threatens to build more. Together with our partners in
Asia, America is insisting that North Korea completely, verifiably,
and irreversibly dismantle its nuclear programs.
America has consistently brought these threats to the attention
of international organizations. We're using every means of diplomacy
to answer them. As for my part, I will continue to speak clearly
on these threats. I will continue to call upon the world to confront
these dangers, and to end them. (Applause.)
In recent years, another path of proliferation has become clear,
as well. America and other nations are learning more about black-market
operatives who deal in equipment and expertise related to weapons
of mass destruction. These dealers are motivated by greed, or fanaticism,
or both. They find eager customers in outlaw regimes, which pay
millions for the parts and plans they need to speed up their weapons
programs. And with deadly technology and expertise going on the
market, there's the terrible possibility that terrorists groups
could obtain the ultimate weapons they desire most.
The extent and sophistication of such networks can be seen in
the case of a man named Abdul Qadeer Khan. This is the story as
we know it so far.
A. Q. Khan is known throughout the world as the father of Pakistan's
nuclear weapons program. What was not publicly known, until recently,
is that he also led an extensive international network for the
proliferation of nuclear technology and know-how.
For decades, Mr. Khan remained on the Pakistani government payroll,
earning a modest salary. Yet, he and his associates financed lavish
lifestyles through the sale of nuclear technologies and equipment
to outlaw regimes stretching from North Africa to the Korean Peninsula.
A. Q. Khan, himself, operated mostly out of Pakistan. He served
as director of the network, its leading scientific mind, as well
as its primary salesman. Over the past decade, he made frequent
trips to consult with his clients and to sell his expertise. He
and his associates sold the blueprints for centrifuges to enrich
uranium, as well as a nuclear design stolen from the Pakistani
government. The network sold uranium hexafluoride, the gas that
the centrifuge process can transform into enriched uranium for
nuclear bombs. Khan and his associates provided Iran and Libya
and North Korea with designs for Pakistan's older centrifuges,
as well as designs for more advanced and efficient models. The
network also provided these countries with components, and in some
cases, with complete centrifuges.
To increase their profits, Khan and his associates used a factory
in Malaysia to manufacture key parts for centrifuges. Other necessary
parts were purchased through network operatives based in Europe,
the Middle East, and Africa. These procurement agents saw the trade
in nuclear technologies as a shortcut to personal wealth, and they
set up front companies to deceive legitimate firms into selling
them tightly controlled materials.
Khan's deputy -- a man named B.S.A. Tahir -- ran SMB computers,
a business in Dubai. Tahir used that computer company as a front
for the proliferation activities of the A. Q. Khan network. Tahir
acted as both the network's chief financial officer and money launderer.
He was also its shipping agent, using his computer firm as cover
for the movement of centrifuge parts to various clients. Tahir
directed the Malaysia facility to produce these parts based on
Pakistani designs, and then ordered the facility to ship the components
to Dubai. Tahir also arranged for parts acquired by other European
procurement agents to transit through Dubai for shipment to other
This picture of the Khan network was pieced together over several
years by American and British intelligence officers. Our intelligence
services gradually uncovered this network's reach, and identified
its key experts and agents and money men. Operatives followed its
transactions, mapped the extent of its operations. They monitored
the travel of A. Q. Khan and senior associates. They shadowed members
of the network around the world, they recorded their conversations,
they penetrated their operations, we've uncovered their secrets.
This work involved high risk, and all Americans can be grateful
for the hard work and the dedication of our fine intelligence professionals.
Governments around the world worked closely with us to unravel
the Khan network, and to put an end to his criminal enterprise.
A. Q. Khan has confessed his crimes, and his top associates are
out of business. The government of Pakistan is interrogating the
network's members, learning critical details that will help them
prevent it from ever operating again. President Musharraf has promised
to share all the information he learns about the Khan network,
and has assured us that his country will never again be a source
Mr. Tahir is in Malaysia, where authorities are investigating
his activities. Malaysian authorities have assured us that the
factory the network used is no longer producing centrifuge parts.
Other members of the network remain at large. One by one, they
will be found, and their careers in the weapons trade will be ended.
As a result of our penetration of the network, American and the
British intelligence identified a shipment of advanced centrifuge
parts manufactured at the Malaysia facility. We followed the shipment
of these parts to Dubai, and watched as they were transferred to
the BBC China, a German-owned ship. After the ship passed through
the Suez Canal, bound for Libya, it was stopped by German and Italian
authorities. They found several containers, each forty feet in
length, listed on the ship's manifest as full of "used machine
parts." In fact, these containers were filled with parts of
The interception of the BBC China came as Libyan and British and
American officials were discussing the possibility of Libya ending
its WMD programs. The United States and Britain confronted Libyan
officials with this evidence of an active and illegal nuclear program.
About two months ago, Libya's leader voluntarily agreed to end
his nuclear and chemical weapons programs, not to pursue biological
weapons, and to permit thorough inspections by the International
Atomic Energy Agency and the Organization for the Prohibition of
Chemical Weapons. We're now working in partnership with these organizations
and with the United Kingdom to help the government of Libya dismantle
those programs and eliminate all dangerous materials.
Colonel Ghadafi made the right decision, and the world will be
safer once his commitment is fulfilled. We expect other regimes
to follow his example. Abandoning the pursuit of illegal weapons
can lead to better relations with the United States, and other
free nations. Continuing to seek those weapons will not bring security
or international prestige, but only political isolation, economic
hardship, and other unwelcome consequences. (Applause.)
We know that Libya was not the only customer of the Khan network.
Other countries expressed great interest in their services. These
regimes and other proliferators like Khan should know: We and our
friends are determined to protect our people and the world from
Breaking this network is one major success in a broad-based effort
to stop the spread of terrible weapons. We're adjusting our strategies
to the threats of a new era. America and the nations of Australia,
France and Germany, Italy and Japan, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal,
Spain and the United Kingdom have launched the Proliferation Security
Initiative to interdict lethal materials in transit. Our nations
are sharing intelligence information, tracking suspect international
cargo, conducting joint military exercises. We're prepared to search
planes and ships, to seize weapons and missiles and equipment that
raise proliferation concerns, just as we did in stopping the dangerous
cargo on the BBC China before it reached Libya. Three more governments
-- Canada and Singapore and Norway -- will be participating in
this initiative. We'll continue to expand the core group of PSI
countries. And as PSI grows, proliferators will find it harder
than ever to trade in illicit weapons.
There is a consensus among nations that proliferation cannot be
tolerated. Yet this consensus means little unless it is translated
into action. Every civilized nation has a stake in preventing the
spread of weapons of mass destruction. These materials and technologies,
and the people who traffic in them, cross many borders. To stop
this trade, the nations of the world must be strong and determined.
We must work together, we must act effectively. Today, I announce
seven proposals to strengthen the world's efforts to stop the spread
of deadly weapons.
First, I propose that the work of the Proliferation Security Initiative
be expanded to address more than shipments and transfers. Building
on the tools we've developed to fight terrorists, we can take direct
action against proliferation networks. We need greater cooperation
not just among intelligence and military services, but in law enforcement,
as well. PSI participants and other willing nations should use
the Interpol and all other means to bring to justice those who
traffic in deadly weapons, to shut down their labs, to seize their
materials, to freeze their assets. We must act on every lead. We
will find the middlemen, the suppliers and the buyers. Our message
to proliferators must be consistent and it must be clear: We will
find you, and we're not going to rest until you are stopped. (Applause.)
Second, I call on all nations to strengthen the laws and international
controls that govern proliferation. At the U.N. last fall, I proposed
a new Security Council resolution requiring all states to criminalize
proliferation, enact strict export controls, and secure all sensitive
materials within their borders. The Security Council should pass
this proposal quickly. And when they do, America stands ready to
help other governments to draft and enforce the new laws that will
help us deal with proliferation.
Third, I propose to expand our efforts to keep weapons from the
Cold War and other dangerous materials out of the wrong hands.
In 1991, Congress passed the Nunn-Lugar legislation. Senator Lugar
had a clear vision, along with Senator Nunn, about what to do with
the old Soviet Union. Under this program, we're helping former
Soviet states find productive employment for former weapons scientists.
We're dismantling, destroying and securing weapons and materials
left over from the Soviet WMD arsenal. We have more work to do
And as a result of the G-8 Summit in 2002, we agreed to provide
$20 billion over 10 years -- half of it from the United States
-- to support such programs. We should expand this cooperation
elsewhere in the world. We will retain [sic] WMD scientists and
technicians in countries like Iraq and Libya. We will help nations
end the use of weapons-grade uranium in research reactors. I urge
more nations to contribute to these efforts. The nations of the
world must do all we can to secure and eliminate nuclear and chemical
and biological and radiological materials.
As we track and destroy these networks, we must also prevent governments
from developing nuclear weapons under false pretenses. The Nuclear
Non-Proliferation Treaty was designed more than 30 years ago to
prevent the spread of nuclear weapons beyond those states which
already possessed them. Under this treaty, nuclear states agreed
to help non-nuclear states develop peaceful atomic energy if they
renounced the pursuit of nuclear weapons. But the treaty has a
loophole which has been exploited by nations such as North Korea
and Iran. These regimes are allowed to produce nuclear material
that can be used to build bombs under the cover of civilian nuclear
So today, as a fourth step, I propose a way to close the loophole.
The world must create a safe, orderly system to field civilian
nuclear plants without adding to the danger of weapons proliferation.
The world's leading nuclear exporters should ensure that states
have reliable access at reasonable cost to fuel for civilian reactors,
so long as those states renounce enrichment and reprocessing. Enrichment
and reprocessing are not necessary for nations seeking to harness
nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.
The 40 nations of the Nuclear Suppliers Group should refuse to
sell enrichment and reprocessing equipment and technologies to
any state that does not already possess full-scale, functioning
enrichment and reprocessing plants. (Applause.) This step will
prevent new states from developing the means to produce fissile
material for nuclear bombs. Proliferators must not be allowed to
cynically manipulate the NPT to acquire the material and infrastructure
necessary for manufacturing illegal weapons.
For international norms to be effective, they must be enforced.
It is the charge of the International Atomic Energy Agency to uncover
banned nuclear activity around the world and report those violations
to the U.N. Security Council. We must ensure that the IAEA has
all the tools it needs to fulfill its essential mandate. America
and other nations support what is called the Additional Protocol,
which requires states to declare a broad range of nuclear activities
and facilities, and allow the IAEA to inspect those facilities.
As a fifth step, I propose that by next year, only states that
have signed the Additional Protocol be allowed to import equipment
for their civilian nuclear programs. Nations that are serious about
fighting proliferation will approve and implement the Additional
Protocol. I've submitted the Additional Protocol to the Senate.
I urge the Senate to consent immediately to its ratification.
We must also ensure that IAEA is organized to take action when
action is required. So, a sixth step, I propose the creation of
a special committee of the IAEA Board which will focus intensively
on safeguards and verification. This committee, made up of governments
in good standing with the IAEA, will strengthen the capability
of the IAEA to ensure that nations comply with their international
And, finally, countries under investigation for violating nuclear
non-proliferation obligations are currently allowed to serve on
the IAEA Board of Governors. For instance, Iran -- a country suspected
of maintaining an extensive nuclear weapons program -- recently
completed a two-year term on the Board. Allowing potential violators
to serve on the Board creates an unacceptable barrier to effective
action. No state under investigation for proliferation violations
should be allowed to serve on the IAEA Board of Governors -- or
on the new special committee. And any state currently on the Board
that comes under investigation should be suspended from the Board.
The integrity and mission of the IAEA depends on this simple principle:
Those actively breaking the rules should not be entrusted with
enforcing the rules. (Applause.)
As we move forward to address these challenges we will consult
with our friends and allies on all these new measures. We will
listen to their ideas. Together we will defend the safety of all
nations and preserve the peace of the world.
Over the last two years, a great coalition has come together to
defeat terrorism and to oppose the spread of weapons of mass destruction
-- the inseparable commitments of the war on terror. We've shown
that proliferators can be discovered and can be stopped. We've
shown that for regimes that choose defiance, there are serious
consequences. The way ahead is not easy, but it is clear. We will
proceed as if the lives of our citizens depend on our vigilance,
because they do. Terrorists and terror states are in a race for
weapons of mass murder, a race they must lose. (Applause.) Terrorists
are resourceful; we're more resourceful. They're determined; we
must be more determined. We will never lose focus or resolve. We'll
be unrelenting in the defense of free nations, and rise to the
hard demands of dangerous times.
May God bless you all. (Applause.)
END 3:07 P.M. EST