Diary

Pakistan Releases AQ Khan, Yet John Kerry Says Pakistan is 'Transforming' for Better

Proving his tin ear on foreign policy is still as tinny as ever, the hapless John Kerry (D, Mass.) said recently that he believes that Pakistan is “transforming” and “taking terrorists head on.” Yet, only a day or so later, Pakistan announced that it was releasing the notorious nuke trader Abdul Qadeer Khan from house arrest claiming he is innocent of charges of running a nuclear proliferation network.

By releasing one of its most notorious bad actors, it sure doesn’t sound as if Pakistan is getting any more serious about taking terrorism “head on” than it ever did before, does it?

Not only did Pakistan release Khan free of all charges, but the state is also supplying a state funded security team for his protection for his travels about the country.

And what of Kerry’s blather about how wonderfully Pakistan is coming along?

“I have found that Pakistan President (Asif Ali) Zardari is very committed to trying to increase the accountability and to move in these directions (taking actions against terrorists),” said Kerry, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

“I also find that both (ISI chief) General (Ahmad Shuja) Pasha, and (Pakistan army chief) General (Ashfaq) Kayani, are likewise committed,” Kerry said.

“In my conversations with Admiral (Mike) Mullen and with other players, there is a sense of some transformation — of a willingness to engage in some transformation,” Kerry said.

Perhaps AQ Khan sent Kerry a note that said: “Halp me Jonn Kirry, I am stuk in Pakistan.”

In any case, I expect that the news that AQ Khan is suddenly “innocent” is news to the State Department. Less than a month ago on January 12, the State Department froze Khan’s assets that are under U.S. jurisdiction to prevent Khan and his associates from using their ill gotten gains in future efforts to peddle nuclear secrets.

“We believe these sanctions will help prevent future proliferation-related activities by these private entities, provide a warning to other would-be proliferators, and demonstrate our ongoing commitment to using all available tools to address proliferation-related activities,” the department said in a statement.

Obviously the U.S. State Department is still fully convinced that AQ Khan is guilty of all charges and is acting to prevent his further activities. On the other hand, perhaps it isn’t news to Foggy Bottom that Kahn was about to be released, though. ABC reported on January 12 that “the State Department did not explain why it was announcing these measures,” so, perhaps a hint was in the air and State wanted to try to at least prevent Khan from having access to some of his funds after what it may have known was an impending release.

But whatever the case, it sure doesn’t seem as if John Kerry was aware of the coming release or else he could hardly have sounded so bright and sunny on Pakistan’s new found commitment to fighting terrorism. His hours old sunny assessment seems a bit ridiculous with the release of this notorious prisoner by the same Pakistan that Kerry lavished so with praise.

Kerry once again seems embarrassed by the facts after an ill-informed claim.