Washington has been negotiating "highly sensitive understandings" to "provide added security for the Pakistani arsenal in case of a crisis," investigative journalist Seymour Hersh reports.
"The secrecy surrounding the understandings was important because there is growing antipathy toward America in Pakistan, as well as a history of distrust," Hersh writes in the November 16th issue of The New Yorker magazine.
"Many Pakistanis believe that America's true goal is not to keep their weapons safe but to diminish or destroy the Pakistani nuclear complex," he writes. The arsenal is a source of great pride among Pakistanis, "who view the weapons as symbols of their nation's status and as an essential deterrent against an attack by India."
Pakistan keeps its nuclear warheads separate from their triggers to prevent anyone from launching a warhead without at least pausing to put it together. A U.S. rapid-response team of terrorism and nonproliferation experts is stationed at the ready at Andrews Air Force Base, Maryland, is at the ready to fly to Parkistan if the security of any of its 80-plus nukes is threatened.