The Senate Intelligence Committee announced yesterday it has postponed for a second time hearings on the nomination of Anthony Lake to be central intelligence director, citing unanswered questions about his role in Democratic Party fund raising and his handling of intelligence on Chinese missile sales.
"I would like to go forward with the hearings as soon as possible," Sen. Richard Shelby, Alabama Republican and committee chairman, told reporters. "I've postponed them now until March the 11th. . . . If Mr. Lake can get the White House and other people, the Justice Department, to help him answer these questions and help us further our investigation, I think the nominee would be better served. I hope that he will do that."
President Clinton, meanwhile, telephoned Mr. Shelby yesterday to lobby for Mr. Lake, the former national security adviser who is facing an uphill confirmation battle.
Mr. Shelby said the committee has not received the FBI background investigation report on Mr. Lake or answers to 25 questions posed by the panel. The panel had asked the nominee to complete the questions by Feb. 4.
Mr. Shelby said he wants Mr. Lake to explain why Sandra Kristoff, an NSC staff aide for Asian affairs, met or planned to meet with Thai businesswoman Pauline Kanchanalak. White House logs indicated the two women had scheduled three meetings.
"What we want to know [is], did Mr. Lake meet with any of these people, and were there other staff members meeting with people that later gave a lot of money to the Democratic National Committee?" Mr. Shelby said. "These questions ought to be answered."
Another question relates to Mr. Lake's "role on the estimate of intelligence . . . in the sale of Chinese missiles to Pakistan," he said.
The committee wants to know what role Mr. Lake, as national security adviser, may have played in suppressing intelligence reports that Chinese M-11 missiles are "present and deployed" in Pakistan, a status that would automatically trigger economic sanctions against China under U.S. law.
China was …