Senate committee approves report reviewing technology transfer to China
May 6, 1999
Web posted at: 2:29 p.m. EDT (1829 GMT)
WASHINGTON (AllPolitics, May 6) -- The Senate Intelligence Committee has approved a report reviewing the transfer of secret missile technology to China and allegations of illegal campaign contributions by Beijing to American political candidates.
The report is expected to be made public within the next day or two.
Committee Chairman Richard Shelby (R-Alabama) would not comment on details of the report, saying it is still being reviewed by the Central Intelligence Agency.
Vice Chairman Bob Kerrey (D-Nebraska) said the committee has produced a "bipartisan, non-partisan document" that is "relatively dull" on the "campaign side."
Asked if the report was critical of President Bill Clinton, Kerrey responded, "Well, it is certainly not a love letter," but a "candid evaluation of what went wrong."
He added that there was some "poor oversight and poor policy."
The committee has been pursuing two separate, but intertwined, lines of inquiry.
The first question is to what extent the Chinese government, working through Democratic fund-raisers, funneled campaign contributions into the 1996 campaign.
Former Democratic Party fund-raiser Johnny Chung has told federal investigators that the chief of China's military intelligence funneled $300,000 through him to back the Clinton/Gore 1996 re-election campaign, sources familiar with Chung's testimony told CNN last month.
The sources said only a portion of the money ever made it into Democratic Party coffers.
The Chinese government has denied the accusations. Federal law prohibits financial contributions to political campaigns from sources outside the United States.
The government also has been investigating whether Loral Space & Communications and other industry representatives illegally gave China an accident report on the explosion of a Long March missile in 1996 -- and whether, as the Pentagon alleges, that report contained information useful in improving China's long-range missiles.
A second aspect of that investigation centered around how Hughes Electronics got the green light from the U.S. government to give Chinese authorities a study on a January 1995 incident, when a carrier rocket blew up and destroyed a U.S.-built satellite. The information transfer took place without comment or input by either the Pentagon or the State Department.
The report does not go into recent allegations of possible espionage at
the U.S. nuclear weapons laboratory in Los Alamos, New Mexico.
Senate Majority leader Trent Lott (R-Mississippi) will meet Thursday with the chairmen of the committees with jurisdiction over alleged Chinese espionage at the Los Alamos nuclear weapons laboratory.
The chairmen include Armed Services Committee Chairman John Warner (R-Virginia), Foreign Relations Chairman Jesse Helms (R-North Carolina), Budget Committee Chairman Pete Domenici (R-New Mexico) and Intelligence chairman Shelby.
The group will update Lott on their latest findings and possibly discuss
CNN's Michael Roselli and Janet Moore contributed to this report.