GOP Leaders Cast Wide Net In U.S.-China Technology Probe
WASHINGTON (AllPolitics, June 2) -- Senate Republicans issued a series of letters Tuesday requesting documents relating to the possible transfer of sensitive U.S. technology to the People's Republic of China.
Copies of the letters were released as a Senate Republican "task force" prepared for its first meeting. The task force is designed to monitor and coordinate numerous Senate investigations into the Clinton Administration's decision to grant waivers for the export of commercial U.S. satellites to China, as well as the genesis and the ramifications of that decision.
The letters, signed by Republican Leader Trent Lott (R-Miss.) and relevant committee chairmen, express grave concern that the transactions resulted in the transfer of sensitive technology which may have harmed U.S. national security.
Five letters, dated May 22, were sent to President Bill Clinton, Defense Secretary William Cohen, Commerce Secretary William Daley, Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and John Holum, director of the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency. A sixth letter was sent June 1 to Attorney General Janet Reno.
Because of the many implications of a high-tech transfer to a communist country, as well as the complicated nature of the transactions, many congressional committees can claim oversight responsibilities, although it appears the Select Committee on Intelligence, chaired by Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), will do the bulk of the work. Shelby expects to hold a closed session of his panel Thursday.
Other panels with interest in the issue include the Armed Services Committee, chaired by Sen. Strom Thurmond (R-S.C.); the Foreign Relations Committee, chaired by Sen. Jesse Helms (R-N.C.); the Governmental Affairs Committee, chaired by Sen. Fred Thompson (R-Tenn.); and the Governmental Affairs' subcommittee on International Security and Proliferation, chaired by Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.). Those chairmen are also members of the task force along with senators Shelby, Lott, Arlen Specter (R-Pa.), Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) and Tim Hutchinson (R-Ark.)