Marines Could Safeguard Pak's
Nukes In Event Of Coup

NEW YORK (PRNewswire) - In case of an uprising in Pakistan or if President Pervez Musharraf is overthrown by forces friendly to the Taliban and Osama bin Laden, U.S. Marines aboard the U.S.S. Peleliu could be sent in to safeguard the country's nuclear weapons and materials to keep them away from bin Laden, Newsweek reports in the current issue. Sources tell Newsweek that Musharraf has strengthened security at Pakistan's nuclear facilities since September 11, and his foreign minister, Abdul Sattar, insisted that the nuclear weapons were ``under foolproof custodial controls.'' The government, however, recently detained two scientists who played key roles in the development of Pakistan's nuclear weapons -- and turned out to be Taliban supporters. In theory, they could offer inside knowledge of the Pakistani nuclear program -- security procedures, the number and location of warheads and the names of current staff members who might be sympathetic to Al Qaeda, reports National Security Correspondent John Barry in the November 12 issue of Newsweek (on newsstands Monday, November 5).
In a separate article, Barry and Moscow Bureau Chief Christian Caryl report that U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld recently called in about a dozen Washington political consultants, among them Michael Deaver and Jody Powell, for what one described as a ``gut check'' on how the public perceives the war's progress. One Pentagon insider says the White House is putting ``relentless pressure'' on military planners for quick results.
Part of the aim of the U.S. attacks is to spur defections from Taliban ranks. Yet last week, 1,200 Pakistanis crossed the border on Thursday alone, despite the fact that Musharraf had officially banned Pakistanis from helping the Taliban. Musharraf is worried, according to a source familiar with his thinking, that the White House is fighting a foreign war according to its own domestic political imperatives. He thinks the bombing started too soon, without sufficient political preparation for a post-Taliban Afghanistan, Newsweek reports. He also believes the Northern Alliance would need months of training and equipping before they could amount to a serious fighting force.
Newsweek also reports that the Bush administration has formed the Coalition Information Centers, created to wage a propaganda war against bin Laden, headed by Bush's top adviser Karen Hughes. Last Thursday, Newsweek has learned, the White House learned that bin Laden was going to release a taped message. Hughes ordered her deputy Jim Wilkinson to draft a response. Christopher Ross, a former U.S. ambassador to Syria, translated the rebuttal into Arabic and delivered it from Al Jazeera's Washington bureau, reports White House Correspondent Martha Brant.
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