New bill would bar lab visits by scientists from 'sensitive' countries
April 28, 1999
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Shelby introduced legislation on Tuesday to halt visits by scientists from "sensitive" countries to U.S. nuclear labs in the wake of the Chinese spying scandal.
"This ongoing threat to our national security requires swift and decisive action," the Alabama Republican said.
The legislation would prohibit visits by scientists from particular countries to U.S. nuclear research laboratories overseen by the Energy Department, as part of the fallout from allegations that China obtained U.S. nuclear weapons secrets from a scientist at a New Mexico lab during the 1980s.
Shelby defined "sensitive countries" are those regarded as dangerous to the United States and considered interested in acquiring nuclear weapons information.
A General Accounting Office analysis of international visitors to nuclear labs from 1994 to 1996 said the Energy Department's list of sensitive countries included China, India, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Libya, North Korea, Pakistan, Russia, Sudan, Syria, Taiwan and several countries which formerly were part of the Soviet Union.
Any exceptions to the moratorium would require personal certification from the energy secretary that the scientist's visit was necessary to U.S. national security.
The FBI is under increasing scrutiny for how it has handled the investigation of Chinese-American scientist Wen Ho Lee, recently fired from his job at Los Alamos.
Lee was accused of leaking information to China while he worked at Los Alamos.
Reuters contributed to this report.
|Back to the top||
© 2001 Cable News Network. All Rights Reserved.|
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines.