Sen. Inhofe Documents Clinton’s Culpability in Chinagate

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

(Washington, D.C.): One of the most courageous and principled security policy
practitioners in
elected office today is Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK). Sen. Inhofe is a member of the Senate Armed
Services Committee — whose Readiness Subcommittee he chairs — and of the Senate’s Select
Committee on Intelligence. In these capacities, he has worked tirelessly to promote the Nation’s
security and to hold accountable those who are jeopardizing it.

In an impassioned speech on the Senate floor yesterday, Sen. Inhofe embellished on
concerning President Clinton’s responsibility for the burgeoning scandal now known as
Chinagate that he initially brought to the attention of his colleagues on March 15th.
The Center
takes pride in circulating excerpts of the most recent address by this distinguished member of its
Board of Advisors.

The Clinton National Security Scandal

Senator James Inhofe
Senate Floor Statement

June 23, 1999

Mr. President,…I am going to pick up on the incredible but true story of the Clinton
Administration’s betrayal of national security and the scandalous coverup that continues as we
speak. …

Though you would never realize it by listening to the national media or the Clinton spin
the recently released Cox Report has revealed a wealth of information on how the Clinton
Administration has undermined national security to simultaneously pursue its misguided foreign
policies and self-serving domestic political agendas.

The Clinton Scandal

On the one hand, there is the mind-boggling story of how the Clinton Administration
changed almost 50 years of bipartisan security policies–relaxing export restrictions, signing
waivers to allow technology transfers, ignoring China’s violation of arms control agreements and
its theft of our nuclear secrets, opening up even more nuclear and high technology floodgates to
China and others-thus harming U.S. national security.

On the other hand, there is the continuing coverup-the effort to hide from Congress and the
American people the true damage that has been done to national security and the Clinton
administration’s central role in allowing so much of it to happen on their watch.

Over three months ago — on March 15th –I spoke on this floor about China’s
theft of the W-88
nuclear warhead. I spoke about how serious this was to our national security-how it was a story
with life and death implications for millions of Americans.

I told how President Clinton was directly responsible for downplaying the significance of
covering up this story. While the information on the W-88 design-the crown jewel of our nuclear
arsenal–was stolen in the late 1980’s, the theft was first discovered in 1995 by this
administration. I told how it was this administration and this president who deliberately covered
up this vital information from Congress and the American people and, at the same time, lulled
our people into a false sense of security by repeating the lie that there were no nuclear missiles
targeted at America’s children.

At that time, I spoke of six proven incontrovertible facts…and let me repeat them now:

President Clinton hosted over 100 campaign fundraisers in the White House, many with

President Clinton used John Huang, Charlie Trie, Johnny Chung, James Riady, and others
strong Chinese ties to raise campaign money.

President Clinton signed waivers to allow his top campaign fundraiser’s aerospace company
transfer U.S. missile guidance technology to China.

President Clinton covered up the theft of our most valuable nuclear weapons technology.

President Clinton lied to the American people over 130 times about our nation’s security
he knew Chinese missiles were aimed at American children.

President Clinton single-handedly stopped the deployment of a national missile defense
exposing every American life to a missile attack, leaving America with no defense whatsoever
against an intercontinental ballistic missile.


The Other Shoes Have Dropped

Now, I come before you to tell some of the rest of the story that we have learned since March
And it is a truly astounding story. We thought the W-88 story was bad–and it is. But with the
release of the Cox Report last month, the American people have been presented with documented
evidence that the harm that President Clinton has done to U.S. national security is enormously
worse than we thought.


Let’s not be distracted by the self-serving Clinton spin: that everybody does it; that it all
happened during previous administrations; that this is only about security at the nuclear weapons
labs; that there is equal blame to go around on all sides; that President Clinton acted quickly and
properly when he found out; and that the problem is now being fixed.


…I want to take some time to walk through some of the more important revelations in the
Report and to remind my colleagues that we have an obligation to tell the American people the
truth–the truth that the media is inexplicably ignoring and that the President seems to hope the
people will never find out on their own.

First, let us begin with a simple fact: Sixteen of the 17 most significant major
breaches revealed in the Cox Report were first discovered after 1994.
the lone
exception of the breach of the initial design information of the W-70 warhead (the so-called
neutron bomb)–which was first discovered during the Carter administration-everything else was
first discovered during the Clinton administration. Let me repeat — sixteen of the 17
significant major technology breaches revealed in the Cox Report were first discovered
during the Clinton administration.
Those who tell you otherwise are willfully lying to

Second, of the remaining 16 technology breaches, one definitely occurred during the Reagan
administration-the W-88 Trident D-5. Seven occurred sometime before 1995, though it
unclear exactly when. And eight occurred-without question–during the Clinton

Let’s take a closer look at these. The seven that occurred before 1995 included breaches of
information on all of the currently deployed nuclear warheads in the U.S. intercontinental
ballistic missile arsenal: the W-56 Minuteman II; the W-62 Minuteman III; the W-76 Trident
C-4; the W-78 Minuteman Mark 12A; and the W-87 Peacekeeper. In addition, there was the
of classified information on reentry vehicles, the heat shield that protects warheads as they
reenter the earth’s atmosphere when delivered by long range ballistic missiles.

Let me repeat that all of these technology breaches were first discovered in 1995. They were
discovered when a Chinese “walk-in” agent actually approached the CIA at a location outside of
China and handed them a secret Chinese government document containing state-of the art
classified information about the W-88 and the other U.S. nuclear warheads. We still don’t know
why he did this, but he did.

The Cox Report also tells us that the Energy Department and FBI investigations of this
have focused exclusively on the loss of the W-88, which we know happened around 1988. There
have been no investigations undertaken about the loss of the other warheads, the timing of whose
loss cannot be as clearly pinned down.

Next, we move to the other eight major technology breaches revealed in the Cox
of these were not only first discovered during the Clinton administration, they also happened on
Clinton’s watch:

The transfer of the so-called Legacy Codes containing data on 50 years of U.S. nuclear
weapons development including over 1,000 nuclear tests;

The sale and diversion to military purposes of hundreds of high performance computers
enabling China to enhance its development of nuclear weapons, ballistic missiles, and advanced
military aviation equipment;

The theft of nuclear warhead simulation technology enhancing China’s ability to perfect
miniature nuclear warheads without actual testing;

The theft of advanced electromagnetic weapons technology useful in the development of
anti-satellite and anti-missile systems;

The transfer of missile nose cone technology enabling China to substantially improve the
reliability of its intercontinental ballistic missiles;

The transfer of missile guidance technology (by President Clinton to China) enabling China
substantially improve the accuracy of its ballistic missiles-these same missiles that are targeting
US cities;

The theft of space-based radar technology giving China the ability to detect our previously
undetectable submerged submarines; and

The theft of some other “classified thermonuclear weapons information” which “the Clinton
administration” (not the Cox committee) “has determined…cannot be made public.”

The Implications

We used to think China was decades behind us in terms of building a modern advanced
arsenal. Now we learn that, later this year, China is planning to test its new JL-2 long range
SLBM, a submarine launched ballistic missile with MIRV capability-meaning multiple
independently targeted warheads on each missile-almost a replica of our Trident SLBM. This
missile will have a range of over 13,000 kilometers and could reach anywhere in the United
States from protected Chinese waters.

In addition, we know that China has been helping North Korea, among others, with weapons
technology. North Korea is also expected to test its long range Taepo Dong II missile later this

I remind my colleagues we have no defense against either of these potential threats, because
the policy decisions of the Clinton administration. Someone very smart back in 1983 determined
that we would need a national missile defense system in place by Fiscal Year 98. We were on
track to meet the deadline until 1993 when President Clinton, through his veto power, stopped
this missile defense system.

But as the Cox Report points out, nuclear espionage by China is only one part of the
China’s efforts to acquire U.S. military related technology is pervasive. Operating through a
maze of government and quasi-government entities and front companies, China has established a
technology gathering network of immense proportions.

They are willing and able to trade, bribe, buy, or steal to get U.S. advanced technology-all
the purpose of enhancing their long-term military potential. Their success is often determined
largely by our willingness to make it easier for them to get what they want.

The Cox Report has shed light on the fact that the Clinton administration has actually helped
China in its technology acquisition efforts or made it easier for them to commit thefts and
espionage. You know the truth is always difficult and controversy is difficult. It is easier to take
polls and tell people what they want to hear. But I have to make a decision-who do I love more,
this President or America. That is easy. The following are just some of the things that the Clinton
administration has done. And I want to applaud Cong. Weldon for helping to bring many of these
things to light.

The Damning Bill of Particulars

1. In 1993, the Clinton Administration removed the color-coded security badges
that had
been used for years at Energy weapons labs claiming they were “discriminatory”
— as if
makes any sense whatsoever. Now just a few weeks ago, in the wake of all these revelations, the
Energy Department has reinstated the color-coded badges to tell us it is fixing the problem. But I
don’t hear current Energy Secretary Bill Richardson talking about who created this particular

2. In 1993, the Clinton Administration put a hold on doing FBI background checks
for lab
workers and visitors,
an action which helped to dramatically increase the number of
going to the labs who would previously have not been allowed to have access.

3. In 1995, the Clinton Administration took the extraordinary action of overturning
its own
agency’s decision to revoke the security clearance of an employee found guilty of breaching
classified information.
When this happened, it sent a message to employees throughout
Department, that this administration was not serious about countering breaches of classified

4. The Clinton Administration deliberately, and many would say recklessly,
massive amounts of nuclear-related information in what the Clinton administration touted
as a new spirit of openness.

5. In the W-88 investigation, the Clinton Administration turned down four requests
wiretaps on a suspect who was identified in 1996 and allowed to stay in his sensitive job
until news reports surfaced in 1999.

6. In 1995, someone at the Department of Energy gave a classified design diagram
of the
W-87 nuclear warhead to U.S. News & World Report magazine which printed it in its July
31 issue that year.
Rep. Curt Weldon is still trying to get answers about how this leak
investigated and what was determined. He has good reason to believe the investigation was
quashed because it was going to lead straight to President Clinton’s Energy Secretary.

7. Career whistle blowers at the Department of Energy, who tried to warn of serious
security breaches-people like Notra Trulock, the former Director of Intelligence, and Ed
McCallum, the former security and safeguards chief-were thwarted for years by Clinton
political appointees
who refused to let them brief Congress and others about what they
Trulock was demoted, but will now get to keep his job. McCallum appears on his way to being
scapegoated and perhaps fired for trying to tell the truth.

8. Rejecting advice from his Secretaries of State and Defense, President Clinton
switching the licensing authority for satellites and other high technology from the State
Department to the Commerce Department, making it easier for China to acquire U.S.
missile technology.

9. President Clinton granted waivers making it easier for U.S. companies to transfer
and satellite technology to China during the launching of U.S. satellites on Chinese

10. In 1994, President Clinton ended COCOM, the Coordinating Committee on
Multinational Export Control, the multi-nation agreement among U.S. friends and allies
that they would not sell certain high technology items to countries like China.
happened, it opened the commercial floodgates. Ever since, there has been a wild scramble of
competition to sell more and more advanced technology to China. As a result, proliferation has
never been worse than it has been in the last six years.

11. In a series of decisions throughout his presidency-and many surrounding the 1996
election —
Clinton has consistently relaxed export and trade restrictions on various forms of high
technology of interest to China.

12. At the same time, President Clinton has ignored or downplayed numerous
arms control violations by not imposing sanctions required by law.
So while we’re
more and more high tech to China, China is sending prohibited military technology to countries
like Pakistan, Iran, North Korea, Syria, Libya and Egypt. And what does the Clinton
administration do? Nothing.


What are the motives for all this? Why did the Clinton administration act the way it did, in
almost total disregard for any traditional concern for U.S. national security?

The Cox Report did not answer these questions because it was only concerned with the facts
the security breaches themselves, not what was behind it.

But FBI Director Louis Freeh did assign one man to look into this. His name was Charles
LaBella, who became head of the Justice Department’s China Task Force. He and his
investigators spent months looking into the connections, trying to connect the dots with
campaign contributions, foreign influences and administration actions. What he found is laid out
in a 100-page memo he prepared for Janet Reno. We know this memo argues in favor of the
appointment of an independent counsel to carry on the investigation.

But the memo itself has remained secret, even though it has been subpoenaed by Congress.
Reno, who rejected its recommendation for an independent counsel, has refused to release the
memo to the Congress or to the public. It is time for that memo to be released.

FBI Director Freeh has testified that the public knows only about one percent of
what the
FBI knows about the Chinagate scandal.
It is time for the truth to come out. It is time
for the
public to get some sense of the other 99% which is contained in the LaBella memo.


Mr. President, over the last six years, President Clinton and his administration have
a pervasive disregard for national security.
In both actions and inactions, this President
broken ranks with the bipartisan consensus about national security that helped us win the Cold

His policies and attitudes-towards export controls, nuclear weapons, militarily
high technology, and dealing with our adversaries in the world–have been strikingly
different from those of all of his predecessors in the modern era.

His administration has acted as if the end of the Cold War gave them carte blanche license to
open the commercial and technology floodgates to countries like China…simply because it was
good for business, or good for getting campaign contributions, or good for other domestic
political reasons.

The traditional concern about national security-about protecting our nuclear secrets, about
maintaining our military and technological superiority, about sanctioning those in the world who
engaged in flagrant and hostile espionage and proliferation-all that went out the window,
replaced by other priorities this President somehow thought were more important.

President Clinton claims he has “redefined” national security. In fact-as the Cox Report
conclusively documents–he has “harmed” national security. This is the message that every
American must understand.

Center for Security Policy

Please Share: