Panel Hits Clinton for `Failure' to Halt Mass-Killing Arms
Gertz, Bill, The Washington Times (Washington, DC)
The Clinton administration has failed to stem the flow of weapons of mass destruction and missiles around the world, according to a Senate report released yesterday.
The report, based on a series of hearings by the Senate Governmental Affairs subcommittee on proliferation, provides detailed examples of how nations such as Russia, China and North Korea have been selling nuclear, chemical and biological weapons technology and missile know-how to such states as Iran, Iraq, Pakistan and India.
"The Clinton administration has not been willing to take the tough actions necessary to back up its rhetoric in executive orders and other statements," subcommittee Chairman Thad Cochran, Mississippi Republican, said in a Capitol Hill press conference yesterday to release the 111-page report.
"In some cases involving Russia and China, the administration has failed to initiate or complete its own process to determine if the facts of a situation warrant the imposition of sanctions," he added.
By relaxing controls on exports of high-speed supercomputers, "the administration has allowed the United States to join the ranks of the proliferators," according to the report.
Spokesmen for the White House and the State Department said they had not seen the report, but both said Mr. Clinton has taken a consistently tough line against weapons proliferation.
State Department spokesman James P. Rubin pointed to the signing of the treaty banning nuclear testing, the permanent extension of the Non-Proliferation Treaty, Russia's recent willingness to join the Chemical Weapons Convention, and China's recent assurances to take across-the-board steps to prevent weapons proliferation.
"I think it's fair to say that there's not a question in the post-Cold War pantheon of foreign policy that the president takes more seriously than efforts by countries that are outliers in the world community to acquire weapons of mass destruction," said White House Press Secretary Michael McCurry.
But the Senate report details public statements and documents that, Republicans say, counter administration claims to be taking effective action against arms proliferation.
For example, the report cites Mr. Clinton's determination that China's 1995 sale to Pakistan of ring magnets used in making nuclear weapons fuel violated U.S. anti-proliferation laws.
But State Department proliferation expert Robert Einhorn later informed lawmakers that sanctions would not be imposed on China because the department could not determine whether the transfer was "a willful aiding or abetting" of Islamabad's nuclear program - even though the company involved is owned by Chinese government authorities.
The report outlined a number of other case studies in which, the authors maintain, the administration took little or no action in the face of questionable deals, including:
* China's nuclear cooperation with and sales of M-11 missiles to Pakistan and its sales of cruise missiles and nuclear, chemical and biological weapons-related transfers to Iran. …