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Jewish World Review April 30, 1999 /14 Iyar 5759

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A blithe acceptance
of espionage

(JWR) ---- (
LET US CONNECT the dots on China.

The People's Republic of China has acquired the majority if not all of our most sophisticated nuclear technology. It has swiped plans for the W-88 warhead, our smallest and most advanced nuke; the electro-magnetic-pulse bomb, which can knock out electrical and communications systems; the neutron bomb, which we designed years ago and abandoned; and at least two exotic nuclear technologies not widely known outside the defense community.

The public will get to glimpse the carnage when the so-called Cox Committee (the House Select Committee on Technology Transfers to the People’s Republic of China) issues its unclassified report on the subject. But committee members are preparing us for the worst.

Committee Chairman Christopher Cox says we've got ourselves a new arms race. And Rep. Norm Dicks, the ranking Democrat on the committee, calls the security breach the biggest thing since Aldrich Ames sold secrets to the Soviets.

Cox notes that China didn't make up 20 years of research time, as press reports have indicated, but 50. It got to swap its 1950s-vintage nuclear warheads for state-of-the-art models. Despite the president's claims to the contrary, most of the pilferage took place on his watch.

The trouble began when Clinton effectively abolished export controls on China in 1994. The decision invited American businesses to get rich by trading away our security.

Supercomputer companies, which had been denied permission to sell to China in previous administrations, went wild. The Cox Committee didn't determine the exact number of computers that made their way to the workers' paradise, but estimates range as high as 600. These computers, along with codes stolen from our nuclear laboratories, enable China to simulate nuclear weapons tests. One expert says Beijing's scientists don't need to detonate bombs "because we've already done it for them."

Satellite and rocket companies also jumped on the gravy train. Hughes sold rockets to China -- and solved a gyroscopic problem that had reduced the accuracy of Beijing's long-range nuclear weapons. Now, thanks to Yankee know-how, China can aim its city-buster bombs directly at U.S. population centers.

The Loral Corp. made hay, as well. The company's chairman, Bernard Schwartz, evidently bought his way onto a 1995 trade mission to China and sealed a deal that enabled him to sell sophisticated communications satellites to our former Cold War foe. Loral satellites now guide the Chinese air force, and China reportedly has acquired a Loral computer chip that holds the key to decoding communications between U.S. satellites.

But not everything is for sale. China had to steal ideas from our nuclear-weapons labs. Dicks and Sen. Richard Shelby, co-chair of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, both suspect that the espionage continues apace, despite recent administration attempts to impede it.

What did the administration do when it learned of the worst security lapse since Pearl Harbor? It yawned. Notra Trulock, then the intelligence director at the Energy Department, has testified that he issued specific warnings to his then-superior at the department, Elizabeth Moler, CIA directors John Deutsch and George Tenant, FBI Director Louis Freeh, Defense Secretary William Cohen and National Security Adviser Sandy Berger. The president hasn't disciplined his security team. Just the opposite: Cohen reportedly wants to reward Moler, who first muzzled Trulock, with the job of secretary of the Air Force.

This blithe acceptance of espionage not only has botched our policy of economic engagement toward China (a policy I support). It also has invited rogue states to misbehave.

China has sold nuclear secrets to North Korea -- in some cases so we could let China spy on North Korea for us. Even though North Korea has promised to bomb American cities and create flaming rivers of blood, we continue cossetting the regime in Pyongyang, and we recently feted China's chief spymaster, Prime Minister Zhu Rongji, with a state visit. The moral: If you want the United States to be nice to you and give you money, develop a nuclear weapon.

So now come the key questions:

Why did the administration wait three years to act on information about the theft of the secrets?

Did it delay investigations so they wouldn't interfere with the 1996 elections?

Is there any relationship between the lapse and the decision by the Chinese general in charge of stealing defense information, Liu Huaqing, to route $300,000 to Johnny Chung, for use by Democratic candidates in 1996?

What did the president know? When? What did he do?

Did Sandy Berger knowingly mislead the Cox Committee in sworn testimony regarding the president's knowledge and actions?

Why did the Justice Department refuse permission to grant a search warrant in 1997 regarding Wen Ho Lee, the man suspected of handing away the secrets?

(It was the only such request refused the entire year.)

Which weapons can China simulate with its new computers?

And what will it cost us to recover from the damage?


04/22/99: Snacking on life-splitting agony
04/15/99: Starr’s last stand?
04/12/99: Combining punishment and proselytism
04/05/99: Now that the ‘honorables’ have returned …
03/29/99: And the senators pressed on
03/25/99: Moronic meddling
03/22/99: Kangas, the Left’s ‘Foster’? More like a diligent nut
03/18/99: Does Forbes have a chance?
03/15/99: Team Clinton aren’t treasonists ...
03/11/99: Blackmun’s burden
03/08/99: The Lewinsky Principle
03/05/99: Buchanan & Ventura’s lure
03/01/99: Open season on women
02/25/99: The birth of political wisdom
02/22/99: Children of optimism
02/18/99: Wake up, Republicans!
02/16/99: Why we feel so good
02/11/99: What exactly does George W. stand for?
02/08/99: Run, GOPers, run?
02/04/99: The languid sigh of waves lapping ashore
02/01/99: Verbal vortex
01/28/99: To be a ‘sell-out’ or an unelectable pol --- that is the question
01/25/99: The apogee of a trend
01/21/99:What my 3-year-old taught me
01/17/99:Don't be fooled, folks
01/14/99: Must a pol be ‘baaaad’ in order to get elected?
01/12/99: Jumpin’ Jack (Kemp)
01/08/99 : Hot air in the Windy City

©1999, Creators Syndicate