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18 May 2009

Pakistan Is Rapidly Adding Nuclear Arms, US Says

from New York Times by Thom Shanker and David E. Sanger

Members of Congress have been told in confidential briefings that Pakistan is rapidly adding to its nuclear arsenal even while racked by insurgency, raising questions on Capitol Hill about whether billions of dollars in proposed military aid might be diverted to Pakistan’s nuclear program.

Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, confirmed the assessment of the expanded arsenal in a one-word answer to a question on Thursday in the midst of lengthy Senate testimony. Sitting beside Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates, he was asked whether he had seen evidence of an increase in the size of the Pakistani nuclear arsenal. “Yes,” he said quickly, adding nothing, clearly cognizant of Pakistan’s sensitivity to any discussion about the country’s nuclear strategy or security.

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