China's Theft of
The following speech was made on the floor of the U.S. Senate
Monday, March 15, 1999.
Mr. President, I want you to listen. I am going to tell you a story
of espionage, conspiracy, deception and cover-up -- a story with life and
death implications for millions of Americans -- a story about national
security and a President and an administration that deliberately chose to
put national security at risk, while telling the people everything was
fine. If it was written in a book, it wouldn't sell, because no one would
believe it. If it was fictionalized in a novel, few could conceive it. But
it is true.
Now for the sake of my statement today, I am stating
that the President withheld information and covered up the Chinese theft
of our technology. But I'm realistic enough to know that a person with the
history of deception this president has will have provided himself with
some cover in case he gets caught. So I'm sure there is a paper trail that
he can allege. The way the President probably covered himself was to
include tidbits about this theft buried in briefings on 40 or 50 other
items, so the significance of it would not be noticed. But a paper trail
would be established.
Anticipating that, I talked to the chairman
of the House Intelligence Committee, Rep. Porter Goss, and the Chairman of
the Senate Intelligence Committee at the time of the discovery of this
information, Sen. Arlen Specter. Neither chairman was notified of the
"W-88" nuclear warhead technology theft. And these would have been the
first to be notified. There can be no doubt that President Clinton engaged
in a cover up scheme.
Let me read three paragraphs from last
week's op-ed article by Michael Kelly in the Washington Post, entitled
"Lies About China."
In April 1996, Energy Department officials
informed Samuel Berger, then Clinton's deputy national security advisor,
that Notra Trulock, the department's chief of intelligence, had uncovered
evidence that showed China had learned how to miniaturize nuclear bombs,
allowing for smaller, more lethal warheads. ...
The Times reports
that the House Intelligence Committee asked Trulock for a briefing in July
1998. Trulock asked for permission from Elizabeth Moler, then acting
energy secretary. According to Trulock, Moler told him not to brief the
committee because the information might be used against Clinton's China
The White House's secret would have remained secret
had it not been for a select investigative committee headed by Republican
Christopher Cox. ...
But even using the President's fictitious
paper trail, the earliest either chairman could have known about it would
have been late spring of 1997, years after the Clinton administration
learned of it and, of course, after the 1996 elections.
I start, Mr.
President, by listing a few things which we now know to be true, factual,
incontrovertible -- and not classified.
For years, the Clinton
administration covered up China's theft of top secret U.S. nuclear weapons
data. They never informed the Congress or American people about what had
happened or its significance to our national security.
Let me tell
you what President Clinton did during this period of time:
this period of time, the President misled the American people on numerous
occasions about the threat posed by strategic nuclear missiles in the post
cold war era.
During this period of time, President Clinton made
statements on over 130 separate occasions, such as the following: "For the
first time since the dawn of the nuclear age, there is not a single
solitary nuclear missile pointed at an American child tonight. Not one.
Not a single one."
During this period of time, he knew that China
was targeting up to 18 intercontinental ballistic missiles at American
During this period of time, President Clinton signed
export control waivers which allowed his top campaign fundraisers'
aerospace company to transfer sensitive U.S. missile guidance technology
During this period of time, he shifted the prime
satellite export responsibility from the State Department to the Commerce
Department, making it easier for China and others to get sensitive
military-related U.S. technology.
During this period of time,
President Clinton hosted over 100 White House fundraisers as part of a
larger aggressive scheme to raise campaign contributions, many from
illegal foreign sources, primarily including sources in China. Among
guests permitted to attend these White House fundraisers were a convicted
felon and a Chinese arms dealer.
During this period of time, John
Huang, Charlie Trie, Johnny Chung, James Riady and others with strong ties
to China were deeply involved, with the President's knowledge, in raising
Chinese-tainted campaign cash for the Clinton campaign.
this period of time, John Huang, who had been given a security clearance
without a background check, was permitted to receive numerous classified
CIA briefings, both during and after his stay at the Commerce Department.
And during this period of time, President Clinton was successfully
stopping the deployment of a national missile defense system, exposing
every American life to a missile attack, leaving us with no defense
against an intercontinental ballistic missile.
China's theft of secret data on the so-called "W-88" nuclear warhead may
be one of the most serious breaches of national security in our lifetimes.
... More serious than Aldrich Ames. Perhaps more serious than the
The public needs to understand that this story is
true. This is not about partisanship. This is not about some ancient
history of some long-gone Cold War.
This is about the real world
here and now. This is about national security in its most important
aspects. This is about protecting our freedom and our existence as a
nation. This is ultimately a matter which concerns the life and death of
The W-88 is the most advanced nuclear warhead in
the U.S. arsenal and is carried on top of Trident SLBMs
(submarine-launched ballistic missiles).
This is the cornerstone
weapon of our nation's nuclear deterrent. As many as eight of them can fit
atop our submarine-launched missiles. As many as ten can be put atop our
largest land-based missiles ... or on China's land based missiles.
We are talking about a miniaturized warhead -- much smaller in
size than the Hiroshima atom bomb but ten times more powerful.
you can see from the chart, which appeared in The New York Times, March 6,
1999, the Hiroshima bomb was huge and unwieldy. It was 10 and a half feet
long and weighed over 4 tons -- 8,900 pounds.
By contrast, the
modern W-88 warhead is compact. It is only 2 and a half feet long and
weighs only 300 pounds, but is at least 10 times more powerful.
The technology on which it is built is super top secret and
represents billions of dollars and years, if not decades, of investment on
the part of dedicated scientists and engineers working in the supreme
American national interest.
Some might ask why does America have
this weapon? Because it is part of our responsibility as a world
superpower to have the most advanced, efficient and credible nuclear
deterrent, not only to protect our own freedom, but that of our allies as
It is part of our policy of "peace through strength." While
we do not intend to ever use nuclear weapons, it is a fact of life in a
dangerous world that we must be prepared to deter any potential adversary
and any potential weapon any adversary may have.
The W-88 allows
for multiple warheads to be placed on one missile. With this technology,
China will now be able to put up to ten warheads on a single long-range
missile. Each warhead targeted at a different city. Each city subject to
an explosion 10 times as great as that which destroyed Hiroshima at the
end of WWII.
You know, Mr. President, I'm from Oklahoma. In 1995,
a 4,800-pound truck bomb exploded outside the Murrah Federal Office
Building in Oklahoma City. The building was destroyed, 168 people were
killed, and 674 were wounded. This was a horrible event, the worst act of
terrorism ever on American soil. That bomb had a force of 1,000 pounds
(one-half of one ton) of TNT.
By way of contrast, the Hiroshima
atom bomb had an explosive force of 15 kilotons (or 30,000 times as large
as the Oklahoma City bomb). The W-88, while smaller in physical size, has
a force of 150 kilotons (or 300,000 times as large as the Oklahoma City
bomb). And by carrying 10 of these on one missile, 3 million times the
force of the Oklahoma City bomb.
The more compact W-88 warhead
makes possible what is called MIRV (multiple independent reentry vehicle)
technology, something China was thought to be many, many years away from
developing on its own. And they stole this technology and President
Clinton covered it up.
We also used to think North Korea was many
years away from building long range multiple-stage rockets.
Listen, Mr. President: On August 24 last year, the chairman of the
Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Henry Shelton, wrote me a letter saying he was
confident we would have 3 years' warning of any new long range missile
threat. Seven days later, on August 31, North Korea launched a three-stage
Taepo Dong I missile, that scattered a small payload off the coast of
All of this only confirms what the Rumsfeld Report
explained to us last year. We remember the Rumsfeld Commission which was
chaired by former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. This bipartisan
commission, appointed jointly by Republicans and Democrats, included nine
of the nation's most distinguished, qualified and informed experts in the
field of assessing foreign missile threats. They concluded unanimously
that when it comes to advanced missiles and weapons, with countries
willing to buy, sell and steal technology, "we live in an environment of
little or no warning." Which means we must immediately be prepared.
Last year, you may remember how it was revealed that the Clinton
Administration had changed the approval process for high technology
satellite transfers -- and how waivers were granted for American companies
so they could launch satellites in China. This ultimately resulted in
China acquiring advanced U.S. missile guidance technology, making their
missiles more accurate and more reliable. President Clinton personally
signed the waiver allowing China to acquire this missile technology. Let
me repeat: President Clinton personally signed the waiver allowing China
to acquire this missile technology.
Executives of these two
corporations that benefited -- Loral and Hughes -- were among the largest
financial contributors to President Clinton's campaign effort. But this is
not important, Mr. President, because the motive for aiding and abetting
our adversaries could be money, or it could be some kind of perverted
allegiance to these countries, or it could be a total indifference to the
security of the lives of Americans. The motive is not important. The fact
is President Clinton did it and he knew exactly what he was doing.
Now coupling the transferred missile guidance technology with the
stolen nuclear weapon technology, China can threaten U.S. cities with
accurate, reliable and horribly destructive multiple warhead nuclear
This is not science fiction fantasy, Mr. President. Two
years ago, a high ranking Chinese official actually said that China was
prepared to hit Los Angeles if the U.S. would take steps to defend Taiwan.
No American should assume these are idle or impossible threats.
Now by helping China develop their long-range missile program,
President Clinton was also helping North Korea and other rogue nations
with theirs. Let me read three paragraphs from last week's Washington
Times article entitled, "China Assists North Korea Space Launches."
China is sharing space technology with North Korea, a move that
could boost Pyongyang's long range missile program, White House and
Pentagon officials told The Washington Times. ...
report on a 1996 Chinese booster that failed to launch a U.S. satellite
concluded that "U.S. national security was harmed" by the improper sharing
of technology with China by Hughes and another satellite maker, Loral
Space & Communications Ltd. ...
Keep in mind, President
Clinton signed the waiver to give the Chinese this technology. The article
In 1994, the Pentagon's Defense Intelligence Agency
reported that it believed China had helped design the Taepo Dong II
missile (this is the North Korean missile) because its first stage
diameter is very close in size to China's CSS-2 intermediate range
So it is factual to say that President Clinton knew he
was giving our missile technology to North Korea as well as China.
take this moment to remind my colleagues once again that America today has
no defense whatsoever against such a threat. The Clinton administration
today -- despite its rhetoric -- opposes the deployment of any national
missile defense system.
It was 16 years ago this month, on March
23, 1983, that President Reagan announced his intention to develop a
national missile defense system to protect America. We have come a long
way since then. Our technology has improved; we know what to do to meet
Had we kept steadily on the course that President
Reagan set, we would have a missile defense system deployed right now.
Instead, we have an Administration which killed the Reagan-Bush Strategic
Defense Initiative program, which vetoed missile defense bills passed by
Congress and which is wedded to the outdated ABM Treaty, which Henry
Kissinger, the architect of the treaty says has outlived its usefulness.
Clinton today is obsessed with maintaining the philosophy of the
old ABM Treaty at all costs. He is locked into the mentality of a world
with two lone superpowers -- the United States and the Soviet Union.
The theory is that if both sides keep their populations
defenseless, then neither side would dare attack out of fear of a
devastating retaliation. This is what they call mutual assured destruction
(MAD). It is a theory that Dr. Kissinger believes makes no sense in the
modern world where many countries are getting their hands on long-range
missiles and weapons of mass destruction.
President Clinton is
solely responsible for the fact that we are totally defenseless against an
incoming ICBM from China or anywhere else.
From news reports, this
is some of what we know about China's theft of our nuclear secrets:
Apparently a spy at the Energy Department's Los Alamos weapons lab
succeeded in transferring data on this highly classified W-88 warhead
technology to China in the mid-1980s.
But our government did not
find out about it until April 1995. (This is a critical date. We did not
know about the theft until April 1995.) Detection came when experts
analyzed data from then-recent Chinese underground nuclear tests and saw
remarkable similarities to the W-88 U.S. warhead. Later in 1995, secret
Chinese government documents confirmed that there had been a security
breach at Los Alamos.
Deputy National Security Advisor Sandy
Berger was first briefed about it in 1996. President Clinton did not
respond then because he was obviously a little preoccupied with what he
considered more important matters at that time.
After all, there
were White House fundraisers to host, foreign campaign contributions,
satellite transfers to approve, high technology trade with China to
promote, and -- of course -- an election to be won ... at all costs. Mr.
Berger was well aware of all this. We know he sat in on all the key
campaign strategy meetings in 1996.
This was also the time when
President Clinton was running around the country telling audiences that
"for the first time since the dawn of the nuclear age, there is not a
single, solitary nuclear missile pointed at an American child tonight. Not
one. Not a single one."
Of course, everyone cheered, believing it
to be true.
Of all the lies this president has told, this is the
most egregious of all.
He repeated this misleading, deceptive lie
over 130 times between 1995 and 1997, right at the very time he and his
national security advisors knew that this horrible breach of nuclear
security had occurred and was under investigation. It was also at that
very time that he knew that up to 18 American cities were being targeted
by Chinese long range missiles -- missiles that had and have the potential
of killing millions of Americans.
And during this time he said it
130 times: "For the first time since the dawn of the nuclear age, there is
not a single, solitary nuclear missile pointed at an American child
tonight. Not one. Not a single one."
So while the American people
consumed his misleading and dishonest public statements -- helping to
secure his reelection -- nothing was done for over a year about the
security breach at Los Alamos.
The likely suspect spy was
identified in early 1997, and the FBI urged that he at least be
transferred to a less sensitive position.
But inexplicably, he was
allowed to keep his sensitive job at Los Alamos for another year and a
half. This was the spy responsible for the theft and President Clinton
kept him in that sensitive job for another year and half. Finally, he was
fired by Energy Secretary Richardson last Monday, March 8, 1999, but only
after he was publicly identified in news reports as having failed two
previous lie detector tests.
In all of this, was Congress ever
informed? No. As a member of the Armed Services and Intelligence
Committees, I certainly was not. And as I said earlier, I talked to the
chairman of both the House Intelligence Committee and the Senate
Intelligence Committee and they were not informed.
President ever take the appropriately aggressive and timely steps which
should have been taken to protect the national security interest, in the
wake of this matter? He did not.
Why? Why the delays? Why the lack
of consultation and communication? Why the seeming indifference to this
very, very serious breach of national security?
We will be asking
some tough questions about this in the days ahead, and I note that the
Armed Services Committee will be holding hearings on this issue soon. The
Senate Intelligence Committee will hold a closed hearing on Wednesday,
The American people need to know what is going on here.
The President's National Security Advisor, Mr. Berger, has a lot
to answer for here. He had better be prepared to answer questions from
members of Congress honestly, forthrightly and without intention to
deceive, mislead, or change the meaning of words. Otherwise, he should
resign now and take the rap for President Clinton.
I am convinced
we have not yet scratched the surface of this national security scandal
exposed by these most recent revelations.
obviously wanted nothing to interfere with developing good relations with
China. While it was soliciting and accepting campaign contributions from
China, it was dragging its feet on investigating the most egregious
espionage operation China had ever succeeded in pulling off in the U.S., a
breach of security which could potentially put the lives of millions of
Americans at great risk.
This is without doubt the worst example
yet of how this administration has put its own selfish motives above the
national security interest of the country and above the protection of
The American people and the Congress must demand
the President be held accountable for this gross dereliction of duty.
I guess the question is, what can we do? I'm not sure there is
anything we can do except inform the American people and let public
outrage solve the problem. And why are we in Congress so limited in what
we can do?
The Founding Fathers never envisioned we would have a
president who would do these kinds of things and act in these ways. This
is why the Constitution gives the president great latitude of action in
carrying out his duties and why he is protected from the other branches of
government by the separation of powers.
John Adams, on his first
night in the newly constructed White House, wrote to his wife, and spoke
of the expectations of all the founders during that time: "May none but
honest and wise men rule under this roof," he wrote.
There was an
assumption the American people would always elect presidents with a basic
level of morality, honesty and integrity, who out of patriotism would
always put the welfare of the country above any personal ambitions for
power or glory.
This president knew he was covering up information
vital to the safety and well-being of every American -- that China had
stolen from us the advanced technology which would give them the
capability to kill millions of Americans in multiple cities with just one
missile. He knew it.
In 1945, World War II was ended when atomic
bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Each explosion destroyed an
entire city, killing tens of thousands. The death toll at Hiroshima was
about 75,000 from that 15-kiloton nuclear bomb.
Just think: that
with the technology that the President has transferred to China and what
China has stolen and the President has covered up, China is now capable of
producing a 150 kiloton bomb small enough to fit ten of them on top of one
missile, each bomb targeted at a different American city with accuracy and
reliability. Just extrapolating the numbers, that -- in theory -- is
enough destructive power to kill as many as 7,500,000 Americans -- with
just one missile.
And, due to this president who stopped our
national missile defense effort, we have no defense. We have a president
who acts as if he doesn't care ... about us.
So finally, Mr.
President, let me repeat the six proven incontrovertible facts:
President Clinton hosted over 100 campaign fundraisers in the
White House, many with Chinese connections.
President Clinton used
John Huang, Charlie Trie, Johnny Chung, James Riady, and others with
strong Chinese ties to raise campaign money.
signed waivers to allow his top campaign fundraiser's aerospace company to
transfer U.S. missile guidance technology to China.
Clinton covered up the theft of our most valuable nuclear weapons
President Clinton lied to the American people over 130
times about our nation's security while he knew Chinese missiles were
aimed at American children.
President Clinton single-handedly
stopped the deployment of a national missile defense system, exposing
every American life to a missile attack, leaving America with no defense
whatsoever against an intercontinental ballistic missile.
doesn't matter whether President Clinton did these things for Chinese
campaign contributions because the motive for aiding and abetting our
adversaries is not important. The fact is President Clinton did it and he
knew exactly what he was doing.
I'm not a lawyer, Mr. President,
but I have to ask, could President Clinton have been tried for impeachment
for the wrong crime?
Why am I here telling the truth about the
President? Because no one else will. They know this president will lie
with such conviction that the American people will continue to believe him
and they don't want to take the risk.
Yesterday at the McLean
Bible Church, the sermon was about risk. They all came back from Canaan
with reports of certain defeat ... except for Caleb who said we could win.
God left the Israelites to languish in the desert and sent Caleb to the
Promised Land. But with all these lessons we just don't learn.
Henry Ward Beecher said it a different way. He said, "I don't like
those cold precise people who in order not to say wrong, say nothing ...
and in order not to do wrong, do nothing." So somebody has to tell the
truth about this President. We can't all be appeasers. An appeaser is a
guy who throws his friends to the alligator in hopes that the alligator
will eat him last.
Hiram Mann said, "No man survives when freedom
fails, the best men rot in filthy jails, and those who cry 'Appease,
appease' are hanged by those they tried to please."
ultimately prevail ... it's just stubborn. Winston Churchill said, "Truth
is incontrovertible, ignorance can deride it, panic may resent it, malice
may destroy it, but there it is."
Mr. President, everything I have
said during the course of the last 30 minutes is absolutely true. I hope
America is listening. We've got a nation to save.
By Sen. James
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