Intelligence and Nuclear Proliferation: Lessons Learned Proliferation Papers, No. 38, Summer 2011
Intelligence agencies play a fundamental role in the prevention of nuclear proliferation, as they help to understand other countries' intentions and assess their technical capabilities and the nature of their nuclear activities.
The challenges in this area remain, however, formidable. Past experiences and the discoveries of Iraq's WMD programs, of North Korean nuclear weapon program, and of Iranian activities, have put into question the ability of intelligence to monitor small, clandestine proliferation activities from either states or non-state entities. This Proliferation Paper analyzes the complex challenges intelligence faces and the various roles it plays in supporting national and international nuclear non-proliferation efforts, and reviews its track record.