Nuclear smugglers to get reduced prison sentences ‘for helping CIA’

Urs TInnerBy JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
Three Swiss engineers imprisoned for participating in an international nuclear smuggling ring are about to have their prison sentences significantly reduced, allegedly for having acted as agents for the United States Central Intelligence Agency. Friedrich Tinner and his two sons, Urs and Marco, were arrested in 2004 in connection with a multinational investigation into the nuclear smuggling network of Dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan. The father of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons program, who is widely known as A.Q. Khan, had for years subcontracted his nuclear services to North Korea, Iran and Libya, until 2004, when he was placed under house arrest by the Pakistani government, following pressure from Washington. Since then, the Tinners have been under “investigative custody”, a peculiar state of pre-trial detention prescribed by Swiss law. In 2009, Urs Tinner gave an interview to Swiss television, in which he claimed than he, along with his brother and father, had for years informed the CIA on Khan’s activities and assisted the US intelligence agency terminate the Libyan nuclear weapons program. It later emerged that the Swiss government had “inadvertently” shredded some crucial documents required in the prosecution case against the three engineers. Late last year there was apparently concern at Langley that some CIA secrets could surface in court, after Swiss government prosecutors announced that a trial for the Tinners would go ahead. However, new prosecution documents released on Tuesday show that a plea bargain agreement has been struck between the Swiss government and the three defendants in this highly sensitive case. Read more of this post

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Tinner nuclear smuggling ring documents may prove CIA connection

Urs Tinner

Urs Tinner

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
Last January I wrote about Urs Tinner, a Swiss engineer who worked under Pakistani nuclear scientist A.Q. Khan, and was said at the time to be leading “the world’s biggest nuclear smuggling ring”. In 2003, Tinner was arrested, along with his father Friedrich and brother Marco, in connection with an attempt to smuggle centrifuges into Libya. Many were surprised, however, when in 2008 Tinner was released from prison, after the CIA, whose tip led to his arrest in Germany, said it was not interested in prosecuting him. Earlier this year, Tinner went on Swiss television and acknowledged that he had worked as an informant for the CIA –some say he was recruited in as early as 2000. Read more of this post

World’s most prolific nuclear arms smuggler admits CIA link

Urs Tinner

Urs Tinner

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
On October 4, 2003, Italian authorities, acting on a tip by the CIA, inspected a Libya-bound German ship anchored at Taranto, Italy. The ship was found to be carrying several centrifuges for use in Libya’s uranium enrichment program. The discovery led to the uncovering of the role of Dr. Abdul Qadeer (A.Q.) Khan, the father of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons program, in subcontracting his nuclear knowhow to North Korea, Iran and Libya. It also led to the uncovering of Urs Tinner, a Swiss engineer who worked under A.Q. Khan, and was said at the time to be leading “the world’s biggest nuclear smuggling ring”. Tinner was eventually arrested along with his father Friedrich and brother Marco, both members of Tinner’s ring, and extradited to Switzerland. Strangely, however, he was never charged and was in fact released from detention last December, with the blessings of the CIA, who did not wish to see him prosecuted. Now Swiss TV station SF1 has announced the scheduled airing of a documentary, in which the freed Tinner will acknowledge that he tipped the CIA about the German ship in Taranto and A.Q. Khan’s nuclear subcontracting. Read more of this post