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Jewish World Review June1, 1999 /17 Sivan, 5759

Mona Charen

Mona Charen
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LET'S SEE IF THE CLINTON ADMINISTRATION'S logic can be understood: We must go to war with Slobodan Milosevic because he is engaging in human-rights abuses on a massive scale. We must expend treasure, risk American lives (though only slightly), alienate the Russians, and bomb Serb hospitals, passenger trains and civilian apartment complexes because "ethnic cleansing" so offends our consciences. Yet when it comes to China, probably the world's leader in human-rights abuses, we are not only eager to overlook their ghastly bamboo gulag, their wholesale torture and murder of Christians, and their near total suppression of speech, we are even eager to overlook their theft of our most valuable secrets.

Ethnic cleansing is an ugly spectacle. And Milosevic richly deserves indictment as a war criminal. But the difference between Milosevic and Zhu Rongji is this: Zhu is a Democratic Party campaign contributor, and Milosevic is not.

Too much is made of the "spin" capacity of this administration. They are not skilled propagandists. The one and only reason that they are able to escape responsibility for so many sins and crimes is that the press -- the broadcast media far more than the print press -- tamely repeats the spin as reality. And so in the days following the release of the Cox report on Chinese spying, we've heard over and over again that "this has been going on for decades." Well of course the Chinese have been spying on us for decades, that's not new. What distinguishes the Clinton crowd is their response to the spying. They've opened the safe, rolled out a red carpet and then averted their gaze. Oh, and the president then lied about it. But then, perhaps everyone lies about treason ...

It was Clinton's decision, overruling the recommendation of then-Secretary of State Warren Christopher, to permit American companies to help China modernize its missiles. Very soon thereafter, The Washington Times reported that China was assisting Iran and Libya to develop missile programs. The Clinton administration continues to claim that China is abiding by its non-proliferation agreement.

It was also Clinton's decision to transfer authority over technology transfers from the somewhat vigilant Department of State to the anything-goes Department of Commerce.

Bernard Schwartz, chairman of Loral Corporation, donated $100,000 to the DNC and was then provided with a technology-transfer waiver, according to the Cox report. The Loral technology has helped China dramatically improve the accuracy of its missiles. And as the Cox report documents, the Chinese government has been able to steal pretty much all of our nuclear secrets, thanks to docility of the Clinton administration.

According to the New York Times, hardly a conservative paper, the White House was informed of the extent of China's spying in the summer of 1997. The administration's response, according to the Times, was marked by "delays, inaction and skepticism -- even though senior intelligence officials regarded it as one of the most damaging spy cases in recent history." Just two months ago, the New York Times reported that in the summer of 1997, when he was already under suspicion, scientist Wen Ho Lee was chosen to head a sensitive new nuclear weapons program at Los Alamos. Wen Ho Lee hired as a research assistant a citizen of China. The research assistant has since disappeared.

When the creaky organs of counter-intelligence finally began to respond to this security catastrophe, they were thwarted by Clinton's agent. The FBI asked Janet Reno for authority to tap Wen Ho Lee's phone. Reno refused, claiming civil liberties objections. But according to Investors Business Daily, between 1993 and 1997 federal officials requested 2,686 wiretaps. Guess how many were refused? One.

The corruption of this administration appears to be total. And there are willing Democrats in the Congress ready to "spin" on its behalf. Rep. Helen Tauscher, D-Calif., for example, worried aloud on PBS's "NewsHour" that "patriotic Asian-Americans were going to be scapegoated because of this issue." Whenever they find themselves in a corner, Democrats can be relied upon to play the race card -- even, it appears, to the point of self-parody.

Forget the spin. This administration put the Lincoln Bedroom up for sale, and it did the same with the security of your children and mine.


JWR contributor Mona Charen reads all of her mail. Let her know what you think by clicking here. Please bear in mind, though, that while all letters are read, due to the heavy amount of traffic, not all letters can be answered.


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©1999, Creators Syndicate