President Clinton has again undistinguished himself by blaming others for the botched investigation and prosecution of Los Alamos Nuclear Laboratory scientist Wen Ho Lee. According to press reports, Clinton never raised any objection to the way the FBI and Justice Department proceeded after it was discovered that nuclear secrets were missing and that Lee was a suspect.
Though Lee has pleaded guilty to what the government contends is a serious offense - that he downloaded classified material from a secure computer into an unsecured computer - a more serious offense has yet to be fully investigated.That scandal is chronicled in an updated edition of a 1998 book by a former chief Republican counsel to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and a former congressional staffer in both Congress and the Pentagon.
Edward Timperlake and William Triplett II first documented the sellout of American secrets in ``Year of the Rat: How Bill Clinton Compromised U.S. Security for Chinese Cash.' The newly published version revises the subtitle: ``How Bill Clinton and Al Gore Compromised U.S. Security for Chinese Cash.'
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In a new chapter, the authors, backed up by scores of documented evidence - some of it taken in FBI interviews with John Huang, a key Democratic fund-raiser with ties to the Indonesian family of James Riady and to top Chinese political and military officials - outline how profound the sellout has been. They write of ``bribery, of money in, favors out. In exchange for Communist Chinese money flowing into Clinton-Gore coffers, the administration turned a blind eye to - or, worse, lent support to - dangerous Chinese activities.' They detail ``the assaults on our national security - nuclear espionage, failure to stop Chinese arms sales to terrorist nations and technological assistance to China's military, especially its missile programs.' In addition, they write of Russia's massive transfers of modern arms to China, which has happened on Gore's watch while he was the administration's point man on U.S.-Russian relations.
``Where did the Russians get the idea that they could sell these kinds of weapons to a country likely to use them against the United States?' they ask. During the Clinton-Gore administration, the authors charge, ``the United States has been penetrated by Chinese intelligence and military services at the highest levels, and the Russian leadership would have known of this from its own spying in Washington.' Why else did the Russians place a listening device inside the State Department? Documents were taken off a desk in the outer office of the secretary of state. Neither they, nor the one who stole them, have been found.
Too many American corporations have willingly sold technology to China, which has been used to modernize the People's Liberation Army. American forces might someday have to face that army if war breaks out over Taiwan. The China trade bill - now making its way through Congress without amendments to minimally push for guarantees of religious freedom and other human rights - seems to be a payback to corporations that have made large contributions to Republicans and Democrats in order for them to sell American interests to a foreign adversary. Who says character doesn't count?
President Clinton claims that Gore has been a part of every major decision in this administration. As the updated ``Year of the Rat' catalogs, that would include a lot of tainted money, influence-peddling and technology transfers to a nation that is no friend of ours. While Gore and his running mate play games on late-night entertainment shows, China most assuredly is not in a game-playing mood.
Timperlake and Triplett write that the People's Liberation Army is methodically putting in place ``the building blocks that will allow (China) to seize Taiwan by force, and the PLA's strategy rests on eliminating the United States as an obstruction.' Gore could have stopped, or at least protested, the authors argue, Russia's imminent delivery to the PLA navy of the first of several Sovremenny-class destroyers last February. A second one is to be delivered soon. Negotiations are ongoing for possibly four more. These destroyers are designed to be ``killers of aircraft carriers,' as the PLA's principled newspaper declared last March. Guess whose destroyers they will destroy?
Attention ought not to be solely focused on Wen Ho Lee but on Al Gore, who has been part of an administration that, according to these authors, has sold out their country in violation of their pledge to protect the United States from all enemies, foreign and domestic.