Fallout from the China Spy Case

April 1999


Materials presented chronologically.

Drogin, Bob. "Secrets, Science Are Volatile Mixture at Los Alamos Lab." Los Angeles Times, 1 Apr. 1999. [http://www.latimes.com]

"[F]or all the high-tech hardware used to protect 7 million classified documents from spies, Los Alamos increasingly is under attack by critics in Congress and elsewhere who fear security is left behind when some scientists meet their peers overseas, especially in China."

Risen, James. "White House Said to Ignore Evidence of China's Spying." New York Times, 13 Apr. 1999. [http://www.nytimes.com]

Notra Trulock, a senior intelligence official at the Energy Department, told the Senate Armed Services Committee on 12 April 1999 "that his superiors and other Clinton administration officials repeatedly downplayed or dismissed evidence that China had stolen nuclear weapons secrets from a government weapons laboratory."

Hosenball, Mark, and Daniel Klaidman. "Unleasing 'Golden Tiger' on Beijing." Newsweek, 19 Apr. 1999, 42.

A U.S. task force, codenamed "Golden Tiger," will investigate unsolved cases of Chinese technology smuggling and acquisition of military and technological secrets.

Gertz, Bill. "Energy Official Blocked Spy Report." Washington Times National Weekly Edition, 19-25 Apr. 1999, 1, 22.

Notra Trulock, the Energy Department top intelligence official, and Elizabeth A. Moler, who was acting Energy Secretary in 1998, disagreed over whether the latter blocked the former's notification of HPSCI about the nuclear spying case at Los Alamos National Laboratory.

Pincus, Walter, and Vernon Loeb. "Spy, Counterspy and a Splitting Atomic Headache: Energy Sleuth's Testimony Seems to Undercut GOP." Washington Post, 21 Apr. 1999, A23.

Testimony last week by Notra Trulock, the Energy Department's intelligence chief, "seems to undercut many of the Republican charges ... [o]n the issue of foot-dragging" by the Clinton administration in responding to charges of security breaches at the U.S. nuclear laboratories.

In addition, "[a] CIA review of Trulock's concerns, headed by retired Adm. David Jeremiah..., reportedly confirms the initial CIA analysis that, although classified U.S. data were obtained and probably aided Chinese nuclear programs, the overall impact 'is a lot more uncertain than some people -- including Trulock -- admit,' according to a source familiar with the study."

Risen, James, and Jeff Gerth. "China Stole Data on Atom Warhead, U.S. Report Finds." New York Times, 21 Apr. 1999. [http://www.nytimes.com]

According to government officials, a comprehensive damage assessment by the intelligence community, coordinated by the National Intelligence Officer for Strategic and Nuclear Programs and independently reviewed by an outside panel headed by retired Adm. David Jeremiah, "has concluded that China stole design information related to the United States' most advanced nuclear warhead from a government nuclear weapons laboratory." See also, Jeff Gerth, "Report Warns of Big Gains to Chinese From Spying," New York Times, 22 Apr. 1999.

Pincus, Walter, and Vernon Loeb. "Chinese Stole Data on Reentry Vehicles: U.S. Intelligence Assesses Losses." Washington Post, 22 Apr. 1999, A4.

An intelligence assessment delivered by DCI Tenet to the President and Congress on 21 April 1999 "found that Chinese spying has obtained secret information over the past 20 years not only on U.S. nuclear weapons designs but also on U.S. reentry vehicles, the containers that carry explosive devices through space.... [T]he finding that China has stolen classified information on reentry vehicles for multiple-warhead missiles marked a new dimension in the Chinese espionage debate." See also, Ben Macintyre, "Nuclear Theft 'Badly Harmed US,'" Times (London), 22 Apr. 1999.

Risen, James, and Jeff Gerth. "U.S. Says Suspect Put Data on Bombs in Unsecure Files." New York Times, 28 Apr. 1999. [http://www.nytimes.com]

Wen Ho Lee, the former Los Alamos scientist suspected of spying for China, "improperly transferred huge amounts of secret data from a computer system at a government laboratory, compromising virtually every nuclear weapon in the United States arsenal, government and lab officials say." See also, Vernon Loeb and Walter Pincus, "Los Alamos Security Breach Confirmed," Washington Post, 29 Apr. 1999, A1.

Schmitt, Eric. "Lab's Laxity in Spy Case Outrages Lawmakers." New York Times, 29 Apr. 1999. [http://www.nytimes.com]

"Senior lawmakers expressed outrage and frustration on [28 April 1999] over the government's failure to monitor a scientist suspected of spying for China, who officials now say may have given away secrets to virtually every nuclear weapon in the U.S. arsenal."

Loeb, Vernon. "50 Years of Nuclear Know-How Compromised: Los Alamos 'Legacy Codes' May Be More Valuable Than Blueprints, Experts Say." Washington Post, 30 Apr. 1999, A16. [http://www.washingtonpost.com]

Secret computer programs transferred by Wen Ho Lee "from a classified computer network to a vulnerable desktop machine are mathematical models, known aptly as 'legacy codes,' embodying 50 years of American nuclear know-how. Their discovery last month during a search of Wen Ho Lee's office computer ... has sent shock waves through the weapons laboratory and the Department of Energy."

Pincus, Walter, and Vernon Loeb. "Senators Irate at Handling of Nuclear Spy Probe." Washington Post, 30 Apr. 1999, A1. [http://www.washingtonpost.com]

"After grilling FBI Director Louis J. Freeh for nearly three hours in a closed-door hearing, members of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence from both parties appeared equally outraged at what they depicted as lax handling of past and present investigations into suspected leaks of classified data."

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