Tattle Tales: Selling U.S. Secrets to China

March 9, 1999 - CBN Interview

William Triplett II, author of "Year of the Rat," discusses the danger of the United States transferring technology to China.

PAT ROBERTSON: Well, joining us from our Washington bureau to discuss the implications of the transfer of technology to China is William Triplett. He's the co-author of the book "Year of the Rat." Mr. Triplett, it's so nice to have you with us. Could you tell us about these two Chinese that just got arrested? That's apparently right now on the news.

Mr. WILLIAM TRIPLETT II: I think one of them was in Boston and another one was on the West Coast. Basically they're looking for parts for missiles, gyroscopes and that sort of thing. And I think this is what has come out today, and I think that probably we're going to see more of this sort of thing. Certainly the Customs Service is chasing these spy operations all over the country.

ROBERTSON: So this isn't something where the administration is complicit. Is this the normal espionage that you would expect with somebody trying to steal our secrets?

Mr. TRIPLETT: I think so, but I think also we can say that some of the embarrassment of the administration with regard to the campaign fund-raising, the--John Huang and that sort of thing, has given them a little bit of emphasis on trying to bring some of these cases. A number of us have worried about these cases and ongoing investigations that went nowhere, and I think we're doing a little bit better, marginally because of the attention that you have put on this and others like you.

ROBERTSON: How much material do you think the People's Liberation Army has gotten from the United States?

Mr. TRIPLETT: A lot, and it's ongoing. First, you're talking about hardware itself: for example, these gyroscopes. But don't forget. You can also make a technology transfer on the military side with a floppy disk. That is, you have the design of a weapon, you put the floppy disk in your pocket and go to China and you can make a contribution there. And then there is the whole question of what Loral and Hughes and some other people were up to in China. One of the good news, I think, that we can point to is the administration has finally been so embarrassed that it's going to stop the Hughes military satellite going to China. And that, I think, we can take some pride in, in essence encouraging--let's say perhaps forcing--the administration to do what it ought to be doing.

ROBERTSON: Well, not only that Long-March is now more accurate, I understood that Loral transferred the technology, which would be used for MIRVing those missiles. Is that correct?

Mr. TRIPLETT: That's right. I want to be a little delicate about how I say this for security reasons, but one of the problems that the Chinese rockets had was vibration problem. And if you stop that vibration problem, you also stop thrashing the bits and pieces at the top of the rocket, if you understand what I mean.


Mr. TRIPLETT: That is, they're very delicate pieces, and if the rocket itself is shaking, then the MIRVs won't do what they're supposed to. So you stop vibration and you help MIRVs.

ROBERTSON: But now they are--do they have it now? I mean, can they access United States cities at this juncture, or is this something they're in the process of developing?

Mr. TRIPLETT: There's no question they can access United States cities now, and they're going to even more sophisticated and more difficult missiles for us to detect. The ones they have right now are in the ground, but they're going to road-mobile missiles that are solid fuel, up and shoot in 30 minutes.

ROBERTSON: Well, if there is good news, it's that they don't have a blue water navy. They've got a so-called brown water navy. That is the only good thing as far as an invasion of somebody. They're not capable of doing it. Isn't that correct?

Mr. TRIPLETT: Well, it's a question of invasion of whom.


Mr. TRIPLETT: We always have to remember that the United States doesn't stand alone. We're the leader of a coalition of democratic forces around the world. And the blue water navy of the Chinese, which is now a brown water navy, is threatening the Philippines in the South China Sea. So slowly but surely, they get bigger and then they start, in essence, trying to go after our allies where they can get after them.

ROBERTSON: Well, it's possible now to--for blackmail, they say, `If you move into the South China Sea against our forces or you defend Taiwan, then we'll bomb your cities.' That's pretty effective blackmail, isn't it?

Mr. TRIPLETT: It certainly is. And one of the things I think your listeners are going to want to keep an eye on are two new Russian destroyers that are being sold to the Chinese navy. And these destroyers were designed to destroy American aircraft carriers and Aegis cruisers, and these are being sold to the Chinese. They have rockets on board that we can't counter and who could--then the rockets could be nuclear tipped, of course. So there's a threat to the American mainland; there's a threat to the American Navy; there's a threat to our allies, and lots of threats, depending on which one you want to look at.

ROBERTSON: I was watching a feature about Ronald Reagan. They said he gave arms to get hostages freed of Iran. That's one thing. But this is arms and military technology to get campaign contributions, which is pretty bad, but we're not saying much about it. "The Year of the Rat." We appreciate Edward Timperlake and our guest, William Triplett, for bringing this book out. It's still available in the bookstores, published by Regnery Press. Thank you very much for being with us.

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