Mitsubishi, Japan’s leading aerospace firm, has installed equipment that enabled Libya to make poison gas bombs at a chemical complex south of Tripoli, it was reported today.
Sources said the CIA, in a closed-door briefing last week for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, revealed that Mitsubishi Heavy Industries has a team of about 50 technicians and engineers at the desert complex.
The sources spoke on condition of anonymity, the Detroit News said in a copyright report from its Washington bureau.
The Japanese technical experts installed metal-machining equipment used to make bomb canisters that contain the poison gases, the sources said, and the CIA contends that the equipment has enabled Libya to stockpile hundreds of poison gas bombs.
According to the newspaper report, the CIA also told the committee that Intek, a West German company, sold refueling equipment to Libya and trained more than three dozen Libyan flight crews to use it. The equipment and training could for the first time allow Libyan bombers to fly round-trip to Israel.
The CIA and other Western intelligence agencies fear that the Libyan gas bombs and refueling capacity endanger Israel to such a degree that the balance of power in the Middle East could be altered, the newspaper said.
Senators on the committee declined to comment on the newspaper’s report, saying the briefings were intended to be secret. However, several indicated privately that there could be political repercussions.
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries’ involvement in Libyan gas bomb production may spur moves to block a plan for General Dynamics to provide the company with designs to build an advanced FSX fighter plane modeled on U.S. F-16 fighters, the newspaper said.