US Worries Grow Over Weakened Pakistan's Nukes

But Pakistani officials call concerns 'overblown rhetoric'
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted May 4, 2009 8:49 AM CDT
Pakistani paramilitary troops accompany a tank transporter toward the Buner district, where security forces launched an operation against militants, Wednesday, April 29, 2009.    (AP Photo/Hasham Saeed)
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(Newser) – The growing insurgency in Pakistan has heightened US worries about the security of the country’s nuclear arsenal, the New York Times reports. Some fear militants could steal weapons in transport or get access to nuclear facilities. President Obama says he’s “confident” that the stock is “secure,” but the US doesn’t know where all the arms are stored. “We are largely relying on assurances” from Pakistan, says one official.

The materials are “widely dispersed,” said Hillary Clinton, and as the situation in Pakistan deteriorates, the weakened government hews to the line, "Don’t worry, we’ve got it under control,” the official notes. Pakistani officials shrug off American worries, refusing to disclose the full arsenal’s whereabouts in part because they worry the US might try to take or destroy it, Americans say.