Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

CIA Director Says Israel Selling U.S. Secrets to China

Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

CIA Director Says Israel Selling U.S. Secrets to China

Article excerpt

CIA Director Says Israel Selling U.S. Secrets to China

Central Intelligence Agency Director R. James Woolsey informed the U.S. Senate that the CIA is alarmed by increasingly close military ties between Israel and China. In October testimony Woolsey accused Israel of illegally supplying China with classified defense technology from sources in the West.

"We believe the Chinese seek from Israel advanced military technologies that U.S. and Western firms are unwilling to provide," the CIA director said in written testimony to the Senate's Governmental Affairs Committee. Woolsey also informed the Senate that Israel has been selling military technology to China for over a decade, and that the sales may amount to "several billion dollars."

The CIA believes that China also is relying on Israel to assist in developing advanced engines for the next generation of Chinese combat vehicles, and will rely on Israeli expertise to create sophisticated airborne radar that employs for targeting purposes energy-sensing "focal plane arrays." "[These are] systems the Chinese would have difficulty producing on their own," said Woolsey.

The bluntness of the CIA director's testimony surprised congressional observers. His revelations appear to reflect a growing uneasiness in the defense and intelligence communities that China is using its covert defense partnership with Israel to obtain advanced military technology that the U.S. and other Western nations feel would be dangerous in the hands of Beijing's current political leadership.

The timing of Woolsey's bombshell intrigued arms control and foreign policy analysts. The United States, say the experts, usually makes an official revelation of this kind only when a stalled foreign policy initiative requires "leverage" to achieve success.

With the ink barely dry on the Palestinian-Israeli peace accord, U.S.-Israeli relations have never been friendlier. However, U.S.-China relations have been tense since last August, when the State Department imposed trade sanctions against China for illegally shipping advanced Chinese missile components to Pakistan.

Some foreign policy experts speculate that the CIA revelations were precipitated by China's resumption of underground nuclear weapons testing. …

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