March 18, 1999
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- President Clinton on Thursday asked former Sen. Warren Rudman to conduct a "top-to-bottom" review of alleged espionage at U.S. nuclear laboratories and determine whether administration-ordered improvements in security are adequate.
Rudman -- a Republican from New Hampshire -- is chairman of the President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board.
His new charge, according to White House officials, is to:
Word of the review comes amid sharp Republican criticism that the administration dragged its feet in investigating allegations of Chinese espionage at U.S. nuclear laboratories.
Rudman is a respected former GOP senator who played a leading role in the Senate Iran-Contra investigation during the Reagan administration, and Clinton administration officials hope his involvement in the review will quiet some of the congressional Republican criticism.
China blames unnamed enemiesDenying allegations that his country stole nuclear weapons data, a Chinese diplomat Thursday blamed Cold War thinking and partisan politics for the charges.
"They are sorry there is no more Soviet Union and they don't know how to act," He Yafei, a minister-counsel at the Chinese Embassy in Washington, said of those making the accusations.
"There are some people in the United States who do not want to see progress in the Sino-U.S. relationship," he said.
The official did not identify anyone, and specifically excluded Sandy Berger, the U.S. national security adviser, who supports closer ties.
Holding a news conference, which is unusual for a Chinese diplomat, He told reporters the dispute could harm improving relations between the United States and China.
Some Chinese scientists are questioning whether to continue scientific exchanges "to advance our knowledge of nuclear science," the Chinese official said.
When asked about allegations that a fired Chinese-American scientist provided Beijing with sensitive material from the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico, He replied that "nothing of this sort has ever happened."
Chinese nuclear scientists were offended by the allegations, he said, because they implied China was improving its nuclear weapons "by the theft of other country's technology."
Taiwan-born Wen Ho Lee was fired after he was uncooperative during questioning by FBI and other law enforcement agents about the transfer of nuclear technology to China. The scientist has not been charged with any crime.White House Correspondent John King contributed to this report
New security measures imposed at national weapons labs
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