The United States has branded disgraced Pakistani nuclear scientist as "probably the world's greatest proliferator" but appears reluctant to link aid to Islamabad with getting information from him about his activities.
"We do think that there need to be the right kind of conditions," Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said in an appearance before the House Foreign Affairs Committee responding to a question from Republican Michael McCaul.
"You know, it's a little bit like the Goldilocks story. I mean, if they're too weak, we don't get changes. If they're too strong, we get a backlash. So we're trying to figure out sort of what is the area that will influence behaviour and produce results," she said.
The US, she said was "creating measures of performance that we will share with the Congress so that you and we can follow whether or not we're getting the kind of positive outcomes that we're attempting to achieve."
Clinton said there's no doubt that AQ Khan "is probably the world's greatest proliferator, and the damage that he's done around the world has been incalculable. We have made it very clear that the network had to be dismantled, and it was."
"There are people who were connected with AQ Khan who are out of business or who were in prison. And there are ongoing efforts to continue to obtain useful information," she contended.
"As we develop with the Congress the kind of conditional statements that we want, we have to just be careful that what we put into legislation doesn't stop cooperation instead of further cooperation," Clinton said.
"And so let us work with you and others to try to figure out exactly sort of what's the sweet spot here. How do we get results?" she told McCaul who wanted non-military assistance to Pakistan linked to US ability to get information from Khan about "one of the largest proliferations of nuclear armament in history."
"We're not interested in putting money into doing what hasn't worked. And we've seen the situation deteriorate over the last eight years in Pakistan and even before," Clinton said. "It's been a very difficult country for us to get our arms around and figure out what our ongoing relationship would be like."