Richard Barlow discusses his experience as a counter-proliferation intelligence officer with the CIA in the 1980s, his work for the Office of the Secretary of Defense under Dick Cheney, and his incredible journey in trying to stop the proliferation efforts of the now infamous A.Q. Khan. He talks about the ‘real politics’ involving our relations with Pakistan and the Congress’ role, the draconian State Secrets Privilege, current disheartening status of whistleblower protection laws, and more!
Richard Barlow worked as a Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) counter-proliferation intelligence officer in the 1980s. He learned that top U.S. officials were allowing Pakistan to manufacture and possess nuclear weapons, and that the A.Q. Khan nuclear network was violating U.S. laws. He also discovered that top officials were hiding these activities from Congress, since telling the truth would have legally obligated the U.S. government to cut off its overt military aid to Pakistan at a time when covert military aid was being funneled through Pakistan to Afghan Jihadists in the war against the Soviets. Barlow's response: to organize the first interagency efforts to go after the A.Q. Khan nuclear network, well before it spread nuclear weapons to Iran, North Korea and Libya. After engineering the arrests of Khan's nuclear agents operating in the U.S. in 1987, Mr. Barlow was sent by high levels of the CIA to testify before Congress, where he revealed that certain members of the Reagan administration had been misleading Congress. Barlow's efforts to enforce the law and tell the truth caused Congress to come within an inch of terminating aid to Pakistan. As a result, he was persecuted as a traitor by some cold warriors in the CIA and State Department, shutting down his operations and clouding his future in the Agency.
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Here is our guest Richard Barlow unplugged!