China Stole Neutron Secrets
In Second Security Leak
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Amid allegations China stole secrets from U.S. nuclear weapons research laboratories, an intelligence report suggests a second security leak, The New York Times reported Thursday.
The United States learned in 1996 from one of its Chinese spies that China's intelligence service were bragging that they had stolen secrets from the United States and used them to improve their neutron bomb, the newspaper reported.
Citing American officials, the newspaper said the spy offered details of what the Chinese agents were up to and how the information was taken from the United States to China. The report came as U.S. intelligence agencies were examining a separate suspected theft of designs of America's most modern nuclear warhead, known as the W-88.
Until now, White House officials have maintained that there is no evidence Chinese nuclear spying continued into the Clinton administration. However, the officials' accounts call into question these assertions, the newspaper said.
Officials told the newspaper that current National Security Adviser Sandy Berger, in April 1996, was briefed on evidence of the theft of the warhead design, the need to raise security at the weapon labs and the report about the loss of neutron bomb data.
A National Security Council spokesman told the newspaper that Berger did not believe the neutron bomb issue was mentioned at the briefing.
Officials told the newspaper that the briefing, led by Energy Department's Chief of Intelligence Notra Trulock, presented information about the theft of the warhead and concluded China had obtained data about the miniaturized warhead, officials told the newspaper.