Shining a Brighter Light on Dark Places: Improving the IAEA’s Use of Intelligence through Cooperation with NATO
December 21, 2010
As North Korea and Iran have recently demonstrated, the Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT), the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), and the Safeguards Regime have not been completely effective in preventing the diversion of nuclear technology for military purposes by non-nuclear powers. Although the enactment of the Additional Protocol has strengthened the Safeguards Regime, there are still opportunities for would-be proliferators to clandestinely develop nuclear technology for military application in violation of the NPT. One possible improvement to the IAEA’s monitoring and verification regime would be enhancing the IAEA’s use of intelligence by formalizing cooperation with a multilateral security organization such as the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). Working through NATO, which has established procedures and infrastructure for sharing and disseminating classified information, would avoid many problems that occur in bilateral intelligence-sharing. While collaboration with NATO may raise concerns about the impartiality of the IAEA among its non-NATO members, effective internal checks on such a relationship may help alleviate these concerns. This is preferred to having the IAEA developing its own intelligence gathering capability, which would face significant legal, political, and practical barriers.