ad info

CNN.com
 MAIN PAGE
 WORLD
 ASIANOW
 U.S.
 U.S. LOCAL
 ALLPOLITICS
  TIME
  analysis
  community
 WEATHER
 BUSINESS
 SPORTS
 TECHNOLOGY
 NATURE
 ENTERTAINMENT
 BOOKS
 TRAVEL
 FOOD
 HEALTH
 STYLE
 IN-DEPTH

 custom news
 Headline News brief
 daily almanac
 CNN networks
 on-air transcripts
 news quiz

 CNN WEB SITES:
CNN Websites
 TIME INC. SITES:
 MORE SERVICES:
 video on demand
 video archive
 audio on demand
 news email services
 free email accounts
 desktop headlines
 pointcast
 pagenet

 DISCUSSION:
 message boards
 chat
 feedback

 SITE GUIDES:
 help
 contents
 search

 FASTER ACCESS:
 europe
 japan

 WEB SERVICES:
 TIME on politics Congressional Quarterly CNN/AllPolitics CNN/AllPolitics - Storypage, with TIME and Congressional Quarterly

U.S. authorities received tip of possible stolen neutron bomb secrets

Pierre Thomas/CNN

April 8, 1999
Web posted at: 4:30 p.m. EST (2130 GMT)

WASHINGTON (April 8) -- U.S. authorities received a tip from a spy in 1996 that the Chinese government may have stolen secrets from the Livermore nuclear weapons laboratory, government sources tell CNN.

The sources say if the tip was accurate, the information could have improved China's neutron bomb capability.

The spy was told some Chinese officials allegedly claimed they were able to steal secrets in 1995. The spy was considered reliable, and taken together with earlier allegations of a neutron bomb technology theft from Livermore in 1988, the Department of Energy, the CIA and the FBI immediately began an intensive investigation to determine if security was breached.

But more than two years later, government sources tell CNN, the agencies have uncovered no evidence China actually improved its neutron bomb capability, and the FBI has been unable to develop any suspects.

"We can't rule out it happened, we can't rule out it did not happen," a senior law enforcement official tells CNN.

Sources also say one reason intelligence and law enforcement officials may not be able to develop a case is that security at the nuclear laboratories has been so weak.

Thousands of overseas scientists, including many from China, have visited the labs, even though a number of congressional and internal reports have raised concerns about security. Document control and computer security have been among the concerns raised.

While it is unclear whether espionage actually took place, government sources say, the broader, and perhaps more important issue, is why the White House did not take immediate steps to improve security at the labs.

The National Security Council staff, including NSC adviser Sandy Berger, was briefed at least twice about potential Chinese espionage at the labs, beginning in 1996 and still, the White House did not begin significant security changes until 1998.


RELATED STORIES

GOP senator accuses Clinton administration of 'cover-up' in spy case (3-17-99)

CIA appoints admiral to review alleged nuclear weapon spying (3-15-99)

China: U.S. spying allegations are 'fallacy' (3-15-99)

Clinton denies dragging feet on China spy probe (3-12-99)

Clinton's security adviser takes heat for China nuclear scandal (3-10-99)

CIA measures damage following leaked nuclear secrets (3-9-99)

China spy suspect fired by Energy Department (3-8-99)


RELATED SITES

Chinese Embassy in Washington D.C. Web site

U.S. Embassy in China Web site



MORE STORIES:

Thursday, April 8, 1999

Search CNN/AllPolitics
          Enter keyword(s)       go    help


© 1999 Cable News Network, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines.
Who we are.