CIA Director George Tenet offered a dramatic redefinition of the proliferation problem in testimony to Congress February 11, 2003. Over the past two years, administration officials have discarded major elements of the global non-proliferation regime, rejected negotiated solutions and engagement and ignored major developments in North Korea and Iran. Now as former critical situations turn into crises, Tenet warns that the non-proliferation regime is in trouble. Here is Tenet's new explanation of why.

The following is taken from George Tenet's testimony to the Senate Select Intelligence Committee.

More has changed on nuclear proliferation over the past year than on any other issue. For 60 years, weapon-design information and technologies for producing fissile material-the key hurdles for nuclear weapons production-have been the domain of only a few states. These states, through a variety of self-regulating and treaty based regimes, generally limited the spread of these data and technologies.

In my view, we have entered a new world of proliferation. In the vanguard of this new world are knowledgeable non-state purveyors of WMD materials and technology. Such non-state outlets are increasingly capable of providing technology and equipment that previously could only be supplied by countries with established capabilities.

This is taking place side by side with the continued weakening of the international nonproliferation consensus. Control regimes like the Non-Proliferation Treaty are being battered by developments such as North Korea's withdrawal from the NPT and its open repudiation of other agreements.

· The example of new nuclear states that seem able to deter threats from more powerful states, simply by brandishing nuclear weaponry, will resonate deeply among other countries that want to enter the nuclear weapons club.

Demand creates the market. The desire for nuclear weapons is on the upsurge. Additional countries may decide to seek nuclear weapons as it becomes clear their neighbors and regional rivals are already doing so. The "domino theory" of the 21st century may well be nuclear.

· With the assistance of proliferators, a potentially wider range of countries may be able to develop nuclear weapons by "leapfrogging" the incremental pace of weapons programs in other countries.

Let me now briefly review, sector by sector, the range on non-nuclear proliferation threats.

In biological warfare (BW) and chemical warfare (CW), maturing programs in countries of concern are becoming less reliant on foreign suppliers-which complicates our ability to monitor programs via their acquisition activities. BW programs have become more technically sophisticated as a result of rapid growth in the field of biotechnology research and the wide dissemination of this knowledge. Almost anyone with limited skills can create BW agents. The rise of such capabilities also means we now have to be concerned about a myriad of new agents.

· Countries are more and more tightly integrating both their BW and CW production capabilities into apparently legitimate commercial infrastructures, further concealing them from scrutiny.

The United States and its interests remain at risk from increasingly advanced and lethal ballistic and cruise missiles and UAVs. In addition to the longstanding threats from Russian and Chinese missile forces, the United States faces a near-term ICBM threat from North Korea. And over the next several years, we could face a similar threat from Iran and possibly Iraq.

· Short- and medium-range missiles already pose a significant threat to US interests, military forces, and allies as emerging missile states increase the range, reliability, and accuracy of the missile systems in their inventories.

And several countries of concern remain interested in acquiring a land-attack cruise missile (LACM) capability. By the end of the decade, LACMs could pose a serious threat to not only our deployed forces, but possibly even the US mainland.

For the complete testimony, click here.


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