Frontline World

Recent Reports
June 21, 2005
Part 3: The Guru
Listen to what Humayun Khan says about his involvement in the nuclear smuggling case. Khan, who's been indicted by the U.S. government and is still at large, spoke by phone from Islamabad with reporter Mark Schapiro.

May 17, 2005
The Conversation
Read excerpts from the smoking-gun emails between Asher Karni, a businessman originally from Israel and Humayun Khan, his contact in Pakistan.

April 21, 2005
Part 2: The Double Life Of Asher Karni
Watch the video report from South Africa to find out how Asher Karni, a respected Israeli businessman in Cape Town, became the middleman in a nuclear smuggling operation.

March 30, 2005
Part 1: The Middleman
Asher Karni

Read Mark Schapiro's original report on the Asher Karni case, coproduced by Mother Jones magazine, the Center for Investigative Reporting and FRONTLINE/World.

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Online Discussion
Read an archived conversation with FRONTLINE/World reporter Mark Schapiro on his nuclear smuggling investigation on

special report: part 2

The Double Life of Asher Karni
APRIL 21, 2005
Continuing our investigation of nuclear proliferation, FRONTLINE/World reporter Mark Schapiro and producer Cassandra Herrman travel to South Africa to find out how Asher Karni, an Israeli businessman respected in his Orthodox community in Cape Town, became the middleman in a black market operation to supply nuclear technology to Pakistan. Karni pleaded guilty to violating U.S. export laws and is in jail awaiting sentencing.

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CHAPTER 1 (length 6:00)

Why would Asher Karni -- an Israeli citizen and Orthodox Jew -- sell nuclear technology to Pakistan? Reporter Mark Schapiro visits Eagle Technology in Cape Town, South Africa, where Karni worked as an agent importing sophisticated electronic equipment for the military and other clients. The company's lawyer says they fired Karni when they caught him double-dealing.

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CHAPTER 2 (length 4:08)

An anonymous tipster in South Africa alerted U.S. officials to Asher Karni's secret deals with Pakistani businessman Humayun Khan. In December 2003, a team of South African police raided Karni's home office, seizing his computer files. Karni's lawyer, Peter Kantor, tells Schapiro that if Karni was really selling nuclear components to Pakistan, "he was leading a fundamentally dishonest life."

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CHAPTER 3 (length 5:53)

Asher Karni claimed that the "triggered spark gaps" he was importing from the U.S. were bound for Baragwanath Hospital in Soweto, South Africa. The spark gaps are a "dual-use" item -- they can be used to trigger an atomic weapon or in a medical procedure to break up kidney stones. But Dr. Lloyd Thompson of Baragwanath's urology department tells Schapiro that the hospital never placed the order with Karni.

The U.S. Department of Justice has indicted Pakistani businessman Humayun Khan in the case. If extradicted, he could face up to 35 years in prison. Read the full indictment. (PDF)

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"The Double Life of Asher Karni" is a co-production of FRONTLINE/World and the Center for Investigative Reporting in association with Mother Jones magazine.

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