A Pakistani national living in the United States on Friday received a three-year prison sentence for plotting to provide Pakistan with technology and substances with atomic uses in violation of U.S. nonproliferation controls, the Associated Press reported (see GSN, Sept. 12, 2011).
Nadeem Akhtar, a permanent resident living in Maryland, was charged with attempting to export in excess of $400,000 worth of radiation sensors, calibration equipment, specialized resins, attenuators and surface refining materials to the nuclear-armed South Asian nation. He pleaded guilty to using his business, Computer Communications USA, to acquire or attempt to acquire the regulated technology.
Washington does not allow U.S. firms to conduct trade in atomic materials or technology with Pakistan. Akhtar, though, misled officials on the type of equipment he was exporting and the identities of the recipients, according to U.S. Attorney for Maryland Rod Rosenstein.
Federal authorities accused the 46-year-old man of acquiring export-controlled products from firms in Maryland, Massachusetts, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Texas and then falsifying records on the actual recipient to allow the items to be transported via shell companies in the United Arab Emirates to their final destination in Pakistan.
In a plea deal reached with the Justice Department, Akhtar admitted receiving directions from a trading firm in Karachi, which received its directions from persons or entities within the Pakistani government. The actual importers included the Pakistani Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission and the first atomic energy facility at the Chashma nuclear complex.
Institute for Science and International Security President David Albright said it is possible some of the technology Akhtar sent to Pakistan ended up at the Khushab complex, where plutonium is generated for use in the nation's nuclear arsenal. Some items might also have gone to a potential reprocessing site at Chashma, which is also seen as having nuclear-weapon applications (Brumfield/Birch, Associated Press/Palm Beach Post, Jan. 6).