Khan has applied for political asylum in the U.S., claiming to have been involved at the top level of Pakistan's nuclear program and to have fled after protesting plans to nuke India. His claims have not yet been authenticated, but with the lack of human sources cited as a major reason for Washington's intelligence failure over the India-Pakistan nuclear buildup, chances are that Khan will at least see the inside of a debriefing room.
U.S. intelligence agents won't be rushing to question a Pakistani scientist who claims that Islamabad is planning a nuclear strike against India. But if Iftihkar Chaudry Khan can verify his claim that he spotted Iranians visiting Pakistan's nuclear facilities, U.S. intelligence will be all ears. "Washington has a pretty good idea of Pakistan's nuclear capability, and it's a little far-fetched to imagine an imminent attack on India," says TIME U.N. correspondent William Dowell. "But there is a real concern that Pakistan will sell its technology to Iran. After all, India consulted extensively with Israel around the time of its nuclear tests, while Pakistan has always claimed it was developing an Islamic bomb."