Emanuel A. Winston, a Middle East analyst & commentator - December 10, 1998

Note: This article was written December 10 before the following story broke:

LATE BREAKING NEWS: December 31, 1998

"House Panel Says Chinese Obtained US Arms Secrets: 20 year pattern cited. Bipartisan Report Finds Theft of Nuclear Technology That Hurt National Security"

A select House committee, in a classified report unusual for its bipartisanship, revealed that over the last 20 years China obtained, sometimes through theft, some of the most sensitive American military technology, including nuclear weapons designs. Chairman Christopher Cox (R-CA) said that China"s "acquisition efforts over the past 2 decades had been a serious and sustained" activity. Further, China "stole nuclear-weapons design technology from American nuclear laboratories". The Committee"s "analysis had gone far beyond the reviews of the failed Chinese rocket launchings involving Hughes Electronics and Loral Space and Communications." (1)

As William Safire said in his "Three Reasons for a New China Policy": "The Cox Committee revealed the tip of the iceberg of espionage penetration...Mainly, because Clinton flip-flopped on trade with China, restrictions came off - we now pump $60 billion a year into the [Chinese] regime." Safire said that: "the 700 page report contained 38 recommendations to stem the worst hemorrhage of secrets in recent years." But, "after 2 years of resisting independent counsel lest it embarrass the White House, the deeply conflicted Reno Justice Department"... charged only "a few small-fry with being China"s conduits to the Democrats....with most of the counts against the main culprits thrown out." So, "one serious investigation of Chinese penetration was suppressed because it"s secret, the other is stymied because of incompetence and misjudgement." Safire lists his 3 reasons: "1. China"s desperate duplicity on human rights, 2. The 38 secret recommendations by the House to stem the flow of secrets to China and then to Iran and North Korea, and 3. the botched and scotched investigation into the change of trade policy amid heavy contributions - isn"t time to re-think our "partnership"?" (2)

However, this classified 700 page report indicates that several American administrations, including Reagan, Bush and Clinton have approved the illegal transfer of a broad range of US weapons" technology. The Committee is supposed to work with the White House and "relevant intelligence agencies" especially the CIA to declassify and release parts of the study to the public. In this writer"s opinion, don"t hold your breath. I think that powerful people will cause this report to be buried.

DEFENSE NEWS December 7 reports that President Clinton, in coordination with the Commerce Department, is working on a scheme to by-pass US security watchdogs in deference to business interests that sell military products.(3) That Clinton is tinkering with the transfer of technology to such nations as China and Russia makes one wonder who Clinton is really working for and in what coin is he being paid?

When it was first discovered that Hughes Electronics Corporation and Loral Space and Communications had supposedly, unofficially and illegally transferred technology to China on satellite launching problems, the President quickly fixed everything. He issued retroactive licenses (waivers) to Hughes and Loral, in effect, making the illegal - legal.

However, now the CIA is embarrassed that they killed a 1995 study by Ronald Pandolfi, a CIA scientist into Hughes Electronics because he was concerned about China"s missile capabilities. Why did the CIA kill what is called a National Intelligence Estimate? Did Hughes help to significantly improve China"s military capabilities? The Senate Intelligence Committee has asked the Justice Department to determine whether the CIA has obstructed justice by alerting Hughes. (4)

Clearly, President Clinton now intends to broaden the safety net for commercial military industries to sell weapons" technologies to any country with the money to pay for it. What is wrong with that? State Department, Pentagon and Congressional critics say Clinton"s planned executive order will dilute the restrictive nature of Munitions List items administered through the Arms Export Control Act. The Commerce Department has become something like the Justice Department who take their marching orders from the President.

There are many reason to protect our National Security through restrictions of US developments on High Tech weapons. For one thing, many of these technologies were developed for the US Government who used American tax dollars to purchase the results of their developments.

Another reason is that all these developments, or segments thereof, add to the effectiveness of other weapons" systems being developed in hostile nations. For example, missiles using advanced American developed sensors can more accurately locate their target which could be a US ship or even a city.

Clinton apparently wishes to piggy back illegal technology transfer onto legal transfers through an easily manipulable Commerce Department. Once that flow starts, protected by law, then anything can be sold, regardless of its safety risk to US security. This all has a certain familiar smell as if this process has been going on for some time and now needs to be legitimized.

When Caspar Weinberger was Secretary of Defense, the Chinese shipped a ballistic missile system to Saudi Arabia. Since the Saudis usually purchased only the best and the Chinese were not known at that time to have the best - it appeared that China had received technological assistance, possibly from the US. Here Congress would have to be by-passed in order to get such missiles into Saudi Arabia using China as the cut-out. The cutting edge of such technological transfers would be manufacturers, their technicians, US military (covert) approval and the knowledge of several US Intelligence Agencies. A hint of this was when the sale of super computers to China and Russia first surfaced. The Administration through the Commerce Department already knew that the end user permits were ignored and the units transferred to weapons" based research facilities in those countries. This did not seem to trouble the Clinton Administration.

Again, I must ask: how long has this been going on? And who, in addition, to the industries involved making illegal sales, is profiting? Campaign contributions from China and Middle East countries are being forcefully pushed out of the public arena while Congress dithers. If Presidents are feather bedding themselves so they may live in opulent comfort after they retire, then that is "rainbow" collar crime at its worst. If our national security is being sold for cash, then the CEOs, generals and fellow travelers of Middle East oil potentates in the Oval Office should go to jail.

The indicators fairly jump out at you if you look into the Iran/Contra weapons" transfers, the transfer of technology for weapons of mass destruction, including NBC, Nuclear, Biological, Chemical to Saddam Hussein of Iraq and now China. Some may recall how then President Bush issued a waiver at the beginning of the Gulf War to his Cabinet for any business dealings they may have had in Iraq, creating a conflict of interest. Were individuals in his Cabinet selling arms" technology with the payment to get in on the newly discovered massive oil fields in Western Iraq? Those in on the ground floor and with Saddam"s approval stood to make billions.

That this President lies for any reason is no longer a statement that can be contested. The difficulty will be to separate the lies which affect our security from the lies which are simply designed to make money.

Once again, the worrisome question of Congressional duplicity also arises. Why has the Congress adamantly refused to hold deep hearings on our foreign policy in the Middle East and Asia? While they expend much energy of Monica Lewinski"s panties, they avoid the more serious issue of national security. Perhaps some of them on both sides of the aisle have also been the recipients of cash in a brown bag, both from local weapons" industries and those nations who need their "correct" vote.

Write to your Congressmen to demand full and open hearings. Embarrass them with the question: Why have they gone along with a coverup which really threatens national security? As Jeff Gerth asks: " Has the Clinton Administration"s strategic partnership with Beijing affected the way the intelligence community sees China?"


1. "House Panel Says Chinese Obtained US Arms Secrets: 20 Year Pattern is Cited" by Jeff Gerth & Eric Schmitt NEW YORK TIMES 12/31/98

2. "Three Reasons for a New China Policy" by William Safire NEW YORK TIMES 1/4/99

2. "White House Plots to Skirt Congress on Exports" by Barbara Opall-Rome DEFENSE NEWS 12/7-13/98

3. "Old Concerns Over Date Transfer to China Getting New Attention" by Jeff Gerth NEW YORK TIMES 12/7/98

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