NEWS: Pakistan’s nukes safe in military “middle-class” hands; Americans should back off

Pakistan shuns CIA buildup sought by U.S.

The top two American intelligence officials traveled secretly to Pakistan early this month to press President Pervez Musharraf to allow the Central Intelligence Agency greater latitude to operate in the tribal territories where Al Qaeda, the Taliban and other militant groups are all active, according to several officials who have been briefed on the visit.

But in the unannounced meetings on Jan. 9 with the two American officials — Mike McConnell, the director of national intelligence, and Gen. Michael V. Hayden, the C.I.A. director — Mr. Musharraf rebuffed proposals to expand any American combat presence in Pakistan, either through unilateral covert C.I.A. missions or by joint operations with Pakistani security forces. [complete article]

Pakistan says its nukes are safe from terrorists

The nation’s nuclear chief Saturday dismissed concerns that Pakistan’s nuclear weapons might go astray, saying that crack squads have a foolproof grip that would never allow bombs to fall into the hands of Islamic militants or rogue military officers.

“Pakistan’s nuclear weapons … are absolutely safe and secure,” said Lt. Gen. Khalid Kidwai, chief of the nation’s nuclear programs.

Kidwai offered an unprecedented briefing for foreign journalists following months of political turmoil here that have raised global fears over the safety of its nuclear weapons, even elevating the issue into the U.S. presidential campaign. [complete article]

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