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    Rumsfeld Company Sold Nuclear Weapon Equipment to North Korea

    U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld served on the board of a
    Swiss company that in 2000 sold light water nuclear reactors to the
    government of North Korea, which critics?including Pentagon
    hardliners?say could be used to produce nuclear weapons.

    Rumsfeld?s involvement in the $200 million deal with the
    Zurich-based engineering company ABB is seen as an embarrassment to
    the Bush administration, which vehemently opposed the deal during
    the 2000 presidential campaign, reports the London-based
    Guardian. ?One could draw the conclusion that economic and
    personal interests took precedent over non-proliferation,? said
    Steve LaMontagne of the Center for Arms Control and
    Non-Proliferation.

    Rumsfeld sat on the ABB board from 1990 to 2001, earning
    $190,000 a year. He left to join the Bush administration. Asked
    about the reactor deal, the defense secretary told the
    Guardian that he ?did not recall it being brought before
    the board at any time.?

    But an ABB spokesman said that ?board members were informed
    about the project which would deliver systems and equipment for
    light water reactors,? and the Guardian noted that at the
    time of the deal, ABB?s chief executive Goran Lindahl made a
    high-profile trip to Pyongyang to announce a ?wide-ranging,
    long-term cooperation agreement? with the North Korean
    government.

    The ABB deal was part of the Clinton administration?s policy of
    stabilizing the region by offering North Korea oil and light water
    reactors in exchange for access by inspectors to the government?s
    atomic facilities. The policy was vehemently opposed by George W.
    Bush and his foreign policy advisors?including Rumsfeld?s deputy,
    Paul Wolfowitz?who argued that the light water reactors could
    produce weapons-grade plutonium.

    And despite placing North Korea in its ?Axis of Evil,? the Bush
    administration apparently has fewer concerns about ABB?s reactors
    now that Rummy?s running things at the Pentagon. In January, the
    president authorized $3.5 million to keep the project going.

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    Published on May 1, 2003

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