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Week of June 25, 1999

Week of June 25, 1999

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CIA Analyst Questioned Bomb Targeting


On June 23, U.S. Intelligence officials disclosed that the targeting of the Yugoslav Federal Directorate of Supply and Procurement during the Kosovo campaign was questioned by a mid-level intelligence officer prior to the accidental bombing of the Chinese embassy which resulted in the loss of three lives. The intelligence officer, familiar with the original target, raised the targeting question among his colleagues at the CIA and the European Command, but did not, according to Intelligence officials, raise it with his superiors. This information was delivered to Chinese officials in Beijing by Undersecretary of State Thomas Pickering and several representatives of American intelligence and military agencies.

That same day Pickering also briefed members of Congress on his trip to Beijing and the causes of the accident. Congressional sources have stated that the chairmen of the Senate and House Intelligence Committees and other members will request a further probe of this matter by the Defense Departmentís inspector general to fill in gaps left by the CIA investigation on military questions.

The continuation of this investigation has prompted some CIA analysts to secure legal counsel to protect themselves from being named as scapegoats to appease Chinaís demand that those responsible be identified and punished. To date no individuals have been named.

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Energy Department, Labs to be Revamped


Former senator Warren Rudman (R-N.H.), who sits on the Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board, released a report titled Science at its Best, Security at its Worst that describes with great detail the structural problems within the Department of Energy that allowed for breaches in security at several U.S. nuclear labs. Rudmanís report concluded that national security at U.S. nuclear laboratories has been, at best, elementary in the past 10 years. Mr. Rudman highly criticizes the Department of Energy bureaucracy for its lackadaisical response to reports of security leaks in the past decade, and advocates the creation of a semiautonomous agency that would report directly to the Energy Secretary, currently Bill Richardson. Mr. Richardson, however, opposes an overall downsizing of various areas within the Department of Energy, and contends that changes made within the existing administration will solve the problem more efficiently. Critics of Mr. Richardson believe he is Clintonís hand-picked status-quo defender.

Mr. Rudman and Mr. Richardson testified before senate and house committees this week. Committee on Energy Chairman Sen. Frank H. Murkowski (R-AK) believes that the Senate will easily pass legislation to create a new agency within the Energy Department that will be solely responsible for lab security. On the House side, after testimony before the House Committee on Commerce, though, it appears that the bill is unlikely to be readily agreed upon. Some members of the House of Representatives prefer to create a totally independent nuclear agency, and others believe the Pentagon should take on the responsibility.

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Border Control Questioned


The Cox Committee report on American security interests in relation to China has raised questions on Hong Kongís ability to prevent high technology U.S. goods from illegally crossing the border into China. The report mentions a few cases over the past several years in which technology exported to Hong Kong found its way to the Chinese military. While the Hong Kong government objected to these allegations in the press, it released information on June 23, 1999 that it was investigating reports that since the reversion to China in 1997, not a single Peopleís Liberation Army vehicle crossing the border had been searched. The outcome of this investigation is likely to have an impact on American policy as lawmakers consider passing legislation that would apply the same export limitations levied against China to Hong Kong to prevent unintended technology transfers. Those who oppose such a measure argue that it would erode international confidence in Hong Kong as a free enclave.

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Last updated: 25 June 1999
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