Magazine article Insight on the News

PRC Tentacles Reach into Hastert's Office

Magazine article Insight on the News

PRC Tentacles Reach into Hastert's Office

Article excerpt

What on earth was Dennis Hastert thinking? This is the question prompted by House Speaker Hastert's selection, announced in mid-July, of a new national-security adviser: Nancy P. Dorn, a woman who had parlayed her stints as an official in the Reagan and Bush administrations into a lucrative business as a registered foreign agent.

But not just any foreign agent. One of her troubling clients was -- in the words of a July 14 article on Insight's Website (www.insightmag.com), which broke the story -- "a division of a Communist Chinese company linked to Beijing's military intelligence."

Specifically, Dorn lobbied for Hutchison Port Holdings, or HPH, a subsidiary of Hutchison Whampoa Ltd., which is in turn owned by Li Kastring--a Hong Kong-based billionaire who reportedly enjoys an extremely close relationship to the leadership in the People's Republic of China, or PRC, and its security services.

HPH created a stir in this country when it became known last year that Li's subsidiary had secured -- under suspicious circumstances, including allegations of corrupt dealings -- long-term leases for ports at both ends of the Panama Canal. Concern about this ominous strategic development was intensified because it came on the heels of a string of other problems arising from China's operations in this hemisphere. A short sampler of these includes:

* Chinese-intelligence agents were found to have made illegal payments to the Clinton/Gore campaigns and secured private meetings with the president in the White House and elsewhere.

* The Cox committee determined that Chinese intelligence successfully had penetrated the U.S. nuclear weapons complex, making off with invaluable information, including blueprints for the nation's most modern warheads.

* Samuel Berger, Clinton's national security adviser and a former trade lobbyist for China, had a hand in securing an appointment to the supersensitive President's :Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board for former congresswoman Jane Harman, a California Democrat. Prior to serving in Congress, including on the House Intelligence Committee, Harman also worked as a registered foreign agent for Chinese client.

* President Clinton personally intervened on no fewer than four separate occasions to try to secure the use of a former U.S. Navy base in Long Beach, Calif., for the China Ocean Shipping Co. -- on whose board Li sits and which is believed to have been used by Communist Chinese operatives to bring hundreds of AK-47 assault rifles, illegal aliens, drugs and other contraband into this country.

* During a state visit to China, Clinton embraced the Communist line on Taiwan and affronted U.S. regional allies by refusing to visit any of them enroute to or from the PRC.

Against this backdrop, the prospect that China was about to secure effective control over the strategic "path between the seas" in Panama was the last straw for many Americans. Their concerns only were exacerbated by Clinton's Freudian pronouncement on Nov. 30,1999, that: "I think the Chinese will in fact be bending over backwards to make sure that they run it [the Panama Canal] in a competent and able and fair manner. I would be very surprised if any adverse consequences flowed from the Chinese running the canal. …

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