NEW YORK - A top Pakistani official was quoted as saying in the course of a newspaper article dealing with the challenges before President-elect Barack Obama that there was no danger of Pakistan's nuclear weapons falling into the hands of extremists. Lt. Gen. (rtd) Khalid Kidwai, head of the army's strategic plans division, told David Sanger of The New York Times that the weapons were protected by a "fool-proof" security system. "Please grant to Pakistan that if we can make nuclear weapons and the delivery systems, we can also make them safe. Our security systems are foolproof," Kidwai was quoted as saying in the article which is adopted from Sanger's book "The Inheritance: The World Obama Confronts and the Challenges to American Power." Sanger did not specify the date on which he interviewed Gen. Kidwai, saying only that he visited him in his Rawalpindi office on a "rainy Saturday morning not long ago". Obama will be sworn in as president on January 20. The article said the incoming Obama Administration's biggest fear from Pakistan is its nuclear arsenal falling into wrong hands, including through some groups which may try to provoke an Indo-Pak confrontation hoping that it would help them seize Islamabad's atomic arms, a media report said today. By now Obama has almost surely been briefed about an alarming stream of intelligence that began circulating early last year to the top tier of George W Bush's national-security leadership in Washington, The Times' said in the the article. The highly restricted reports described how foreign-trained Pakistani scientists, including some suspected of harbouring sympathy for radical Islamic causes, were returning to Pakistan to seek jobs within the country's nuclear infrastructure presumably trying to burrow in among the 2,000 or so people who have "critical knowledge" of the Pakistani nuclear infrastructure, it says. One of the most senior officials in Bush administration, who had read all of the intelligence with care, is quoted as saying that he had a worry -- what happens "when they move the weapons." He explained that the US feared that some groups could try to provoke a confrontation between Pakistan and India in the hope that Pakistani military would transport tactical nuclear weapons closer to the front lines, where they would be more vulnerable to seizure. "Indeed, when the deadly terror attacks occurred in Mumbai in late November, officials told me they feared that one of the attackers' motives might have been to trigger exactly that series of events," Sanger, who is The Times' Chief Washington correspondent, said. Any worry, the official said, "is what I believe are steadfast efforts of different extremist groups to infiltrate the labs and put sleepers and so on in there." "As Obama's team of nuclear experts have discovered in their recent briefings, it is Pakistan's laboratories " one of which still bears A. Q. Khan's name " that still pose the greatest worries for American intelligence officials," the article said. "It is relatively easy to teach Kidwai's security personnel how to lock down warheads and store them separately from trigger devices and missiles " training that the United States has conducted, largely in secret, at a cost of almost $100 million. It is a lot harder for the Americans to keep track of nuclear material being produced inside laboratories, where it is easier for the Pakistanis to underreport how much nuclear material has been produced, how much is in storage or how much might be 'stuck in the pipes' during the labourious enrichment process. And it is nearly impossible to stop engineers from walking out the door with the knowledge of how to produce fuel, which Khan provided to Iran, and bomb designs." Kidwai says that the Americans shouldn't offer lectures about nuclear security, not after the U.S. Air Force lost track of some of its own weapons in 2007 for 36 hours, flying them around unguarded to air bases and leaving them by the side of the tarmac. "He (Kidwai) makes use of another argument as well, a legacy of the Bush era that will last for many years: how can an intelligence apparatus in the United States that got Iraq's nuclear progress so wrong in 2003 be so certain today that Pakistan's arsenal is at risk?"