- The 700-page Cox Report, released to
the public today, is missing more than 100 pages that detail White House
involvement in China's extensive theft of U.S. military secrets, material
embarrassing to past Presidents Ronald Reagan and George Bush and details
implicating key officials of the US Department of Energy.
- The details were omitted "for national
security" under a deal between the House Select Committee and the
Clinton White House.
- However, those who have read the full,
unedited, report say it is a stinging indictment of a White House that
clearly helped US secrets fall into the hands of Communist China.
- "There was a pattern of clear and
consistent White House involvement in the transfer of sensitive technology
to China," says one senior Congressional aide who had access to the
report. "The pattern shows, at best, a White House that was incompetent
and, at worst, complicit in the loss of US secrets."
- But, under a deal cut by Committee Chairman
Christopher Cox of California and President Bill Clinton, the public will
not see that section of the report and the public version, while damaging,
is not the clear-cut indictment of the White House that some had hoped.
- Unlike a still-classified investigation
by the Central Intelligence Agency, the public Cox report does not connect
the dots between Democratic campaign contributions laundered by the Chinese
government and White House actions to approve transfer of sensitive technology.
- The CIA report established a clear pattern
of political contributions from Chinese sources and the Loral Corp. with
the White House approval of transfer of sensitive technology from Loral
to China. The CIA report also found US Department of Energy officials tried
to cover up discovery of the China spying.
- The public Cox report, however, does
not specifically implicate key US Department of Energy officials. Those
who have read the full, classified, version say there is information that
suggests criminal activity on part of some Energy department officials.
That information, they say, has been turned over to the Justice Department.
- Some Congressional sources say Cox agreed
to the deletions in exchange for also cutting some report sections that
could prove embarrassing for past Presidents Reagan and Bush.
- "Quid pro quo, pure and simple,"
says one aide.
- Others, however, say Cox allowed the
cuts because he is not personally convinced the administration knowingly
sold out the country.
- "The Congressman is not prepared
to publicly indict the President for treason. That is a very serious charge,"
said one aide. "The report that the public will see is, without a
doubt, a pointed example of how the White House put political considerations
above national security, but it does not attempt to assess blame on any
- For example, while the report says the
Clinton administration relaxed restrictions on high-end computer sales
to China in 1996, and 600 have since been sold, it also argues that US
officials have no effective way to determine whether computers sold for
commercial purposes are diverted to military uses.
- However, high-performance computers legally
purchased from US companies have been secretly used by Chinese military
institutes and organizations involved in research and development of nuclear
weapons, missiles, satellites, spacecraft, submarines, aircraft, military
systems, command and control, communications and microwave and laser sensors.
- In addition, Hughes Electronics Corp.
and Loral Space and Electronics Ltd. illegally transmitted information
that helped China improve its military rockets and operations, including
the design and reliability of its ballistic missiles and nose cones. Both
companies are currently under investigation by the Justice Department.
- The report says China obtained information
on seven US nuclear warheads, including five still deployed. They are the
W-88 and W-76, both of which are launched from Trident submarines; the
W-87, which is atop the Peacekeeper MX intercontinental ballistic missile,
and the W-78 and W-62, which are on Minuteman III ICBMs.
- But the report also says China has obtained
far more advanced military equipment and technology from increased cooperation
with Russia since 1992 than it has from espionage in the United States.
- One Cox aide said his boss was determined
to release a "bipartisan report that would not get lost amid charges
of political witch hunting."
- Advance reaction from the White House
appears to support that assessment.
- "I think finger-pointing is a popular
spectator sport and participative sport here in Washington," Presidential
spokesman Joe Lockhart said Monday. "The bottom line is this is a
bipartisan problem that needs a bipartisan solution. It goes back over
20 years. It doesn't have a Democratic or Republican name on it."
- The ranking minority member of Cox's
committee added to the bipartisan theme.
- "He was a gentleman throughout the
entire process," said Rep. Norman D. Dicks (D-Wash.), said of Cox..
"He was definitely interested in a comprehensive report which was
thoroughly investigated, but he was also willing to be fair in this enterprise."
- Others, however, wonder what the spirit
of bipartisanship cost.
- "The report, as released publicly,
is damaging, but it is far from the bombshell that some had hoped,"
says intelligence analyst Sander Owen, who read an advance copy of the
report Monday night. "It leaves you wondering just what was taken