Fallout from the China Spy Case

17 June - July 1999

Materials presented in chronological order.

Pincus, Walter, and Vernon Loeb. "Support Builds for Separate Nuclear Authority." Washington Post, 17 Jun. 1999, A18. [http://www.washingtonpost.com]

Although the House select committee that he chaired "did not include specific recommendations for reform," Rep. Christopher Cox (R-CA) said on 16 June 1999 that "he supports a proposal to transfer control over nuclear weapons production and research from the Department of Energy to an independent agency much like the old Atomic Energy Commission."

Pincus, Walter. "Nuclear Security Blanket: Compromise May Be Near on New Agency to Oversee Atomic Arms." Washington Post, 20 Jun. 1999, A3. [http://www. washingtonpost.com]

"[T]he Department of Energy and its congressional critics are moving toward a compromise: creating a new agency within the department to oversee the production of America's nuclear weapons."

Loeb, Vernon. "Polygraphs Start for 5,000 at Energy: Opposition Mounts to Widespread Lie Detection to Catch Spies at Weapons Labs." Washington Post, 21 Jun. 1999, A2. [http://www. washingtonpost.com]

Energy Secretary Bill Richardson has ordered the polygraphing of some "5,000 nuclear weapons scientists and other sensitive employees" at the DOE, "extending wholesale use of 'lie detector' tests for the first time outside" the CIA and NSA.

Gerth, Jeff. "In Wake of Espionage, Debate on New Nuclear Arms Agency." New York Times, 23 Jun. 1999. [http://www.nytimes.com]

On 22 June 1999, the U.S. Senate and the Clinton Administration "moved closer ... to a drastic legislative restructuring of the Energy Department," by the creation of an "Agency for Nuclear Stewardship." However, Energy Secretary Richardson is continuing to resist a separate office to oversee nuclear weapons programs. See also, Audrey Hudson, "Hill Eyes Change to Guard Nuke Secrets," Washington Times, 23 June 1999. Washington Times National Weekly Edition, 28 Jun.-4 Jul. 1999, 15.

Freedberg, Sydney J., Jr. "Energy Labs Debate Boils Over." National Journal (26 Jun. 1999), 1896-1897.

Discusses reaction to PFIAB report at the Energy Department, at the Labs, and in Congress. The focus is Energy Secretary Richardson's resistance to a semiautonomous agency responsible for national security work at the Energy Department.

Risen, James, and Jeff Gerth. "U.S. Is Said to Have Known of China Spy Link in 1995." New York Times, 27 Jun. 1999. [http://www.nytimes.com]

According to current and former officials, "[t]he White House was told about China's apparent theft of American nuclear weapons technology in July 1995... Until now, the Administration has left the impression that the White House first learned about the matter in April 1996, when Samuel R. Berger, then President Clinton's deputy national security adviser, was briefed on the case by Energy Department officials."

Friedman, Norman. "World Naval Developments: Chinese Spied for Decades." U.S. Naval Institute Proceedings 125, no. 7 (Jul. 1999): 107.

"The question ... is whether the potential of [the vast Chinese] market blinded many U.S. companies and the U.S. administration itself to the liklihood that a stronger China would be a major strategic threat.... Will the fruits of espionage encourage the Chinese to imagine that they can take chances, such as attacking Taiwan, without fear of U.S. intervention, because their growing arsenal will deter us?"

Gerth, Jeff. "President's Top Security Adviser Questioned by Senate Committee." New York Times, 1 Jul. 1999. [http://www.nytimes.com]

On 30 June 1999, National Security Adviser Sandy Berger answered questions before the SSCI "about how the White House has handled the allegations of nuclear espionage by China. One official who attended the meeting ... said that Berger repeated previous accounts of how he first learned about the issue in April 1996 and first informed Clinton in July 1997, after receiving a more detailed briefing." See also, Walter Pincus, "Berger Defends Handling of Espionage Allegations Before Hill Panel," Washington Post, 1 Jul. 1999, A18.

Pincus, Walter. "Richardson Accepts Nuclear Agency Plan: DOE Unit Would Be Semiautonomous." Washington Post, 8 Jul. 1999, A16. [http://www.washingtonpost.com]

On 7 July 1999, Energy Secretary Bill Richardson agreed "to create a semiautonomous agency to run" the complex of "laboratories and plants that research, assemble and maintain America's nuclear weapons." Establishment of an Agency for Nuclear Stewardship (ANS) "would be the most significant change produced" after "more than a year of controversy over allegations of Chinese espionage and lax security at the weapons labs. The new agency also would represent the first major reorganization of the nuclear weapons complex in more than two decades," since the DOE was formed in 1976-1977. See also, Matthew L. Wald, "Secretary Agrees to Idea of Agency on Nuclear Weapons," New York Times, 8 Jul. 1999.

U. S. Department of Energy. "Press Release -- Richardson Toughens Requirements for Unclassified Foreign Visits and Assignments: Policy Directive Strengthens Controls over Foreign Nationals at DOE Facilities." 14 Jul. 1999. [http://www.energy.gov]

"The Visits and Assignments Policy Office will act as a central accounting center to track and analyze the details of foreign visits and assignments to DOE facilities to ensure that these are conducted in a secure manner."

U. S. Department of Energy. "Press Release -- Statement of Secretary of Energy Bill Richardson on the Senate Bill to Reorganize the Department of Energy." 21 Jul. 1999. [http://www.energy. gov]

The Senate has "made significant improvements to the reorganization proposal by adopting amendments to ensure the Secretary of Energy retains direction, control and authority over the agency's policies, including counterintelligence and security policies, to preserve scientific interaction between the Energy Departments' defense labs and the rest of the Department, and to protect field operations. These amendments are important."

Pincus, Walter. "Senate Votes for New DOE Nuclear Weapons Agency: Proposal's Prospects in House Are Less Certain." Washington Post, 22 Jul. 1999, A4. [http://www.washingtonpost. com]

"In its first legislative response to allegations of Chinese spying, the Senate voted overwhelmingly [on 21 July 1999] to give responsibility for nuclear weapons research and production to a new agency inside the Department of Energy." See also, Eric Schmitt, "Spying Furor Brings Vote in Senate for New Unit," New York Times, 22 Jul. 1999.

U. S. Department of Energy. "Press Release -- Energy Secretary Richardson Orders Department-wide 'Security Stand-Down': Latest Action To Immerse Employees In Intense Security Education, Training." 29 Jul. 1999. [http://www.energy.gov]

Aftergood, Steven. "Wrongheaded 'Protection.'" Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists 55, no. 4 (Jul.-Aug. 1999). [http://www.bullatomsci.org]

"[E]fforts to reduce the scope of government secrecy and promote declassification of Cold War records may be an unfortunate casualty of the Chinese nuclear espionage scandal.... In particular, the reported theft of nuclear secrets has cast a government-wide chill on declassification and may spell the end of the Energy Department's Openness Initiative." See also, Steven Aftergood, "Security: How Not to Combat Chinese Espionage," Los Angeles Times, 4 Jul. 1999.

Forward to China August 1999

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