Book Event: Peddling Peril by David Albright

On May 13, 2010, the Georgetown University Institute for Law, Science and Global Security, in conjunction with the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies, as part of a joint project on Nonproliferation Policy and Law sponsored a book review event for David Albright's (ISIS) "Peddling Peril: How the Secret Nuclear Trade Arms America's Enemies." (Free Press, 2010).

After Mr. Albright presented the findings of his book, explored how states and private sector entities wittingly and unwittingly support the illicit trade of nuclear materials, and made recommendations for improved export control and licensing procedures, a panel of commenters shared their opinions on the book and challenge of nuclear materials diversion and trafficking.

Dr. Matthew Kroenig, Assistant Professor of Government at Georgetown University and author of "Exporting the Bomb: Technology Transfer and the Spread of Nuclear Weapons." (Cornell University Press, 2010), explained how nuclear trafficking, although conducted in large part by organized criminal networks and private sector entities, is almost always facilitated, either actively or passively, by states.   The operations of smuggling groups, such as the A.Q. Khan Network, he contended, could not have been so successful without state support.

Responding to Albright and Kroenig's recommendations for increasing national export control efforts and tightening licensing procedures and oversight, Mr. William Reinsch, President of the National Foreign Trade Council, cautioned that such measures could ultimately prove counterproductive by restricting legal commercial transactions and creating an antagonistic relationship between corporate suppliers of nuclear materials and dual-use technology and state authorities that would stymie the mutual exchange of information that is critical for detecting illicit activities.

Finally, Mr. Edmund Rice of the House Foreign Affairs Committee spoke to congressional efforts to address the threat of nuclear trafficking through legislation without jeopardizing cooperation between largely compliant corporate actors and national authorities.

A full video recording of the event is available online.


Mr. Leonard Spector, Assistant Director of the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies, introduces the panelists and shares his opinions on Mr. Albright's book.


The author presents his research.


Dr. Matthew Kroenig of Georgetown University explains the central role states often play in nuclear trafficking operations.