Inside the Ring

By Scarborough, Bill Gertz/Rowan | The Washington Times (Washington, DC), June 30, 2000 | Go to article overview

Inside the Ring


Scarborough, Bill Gertz/Rowan, The Washington Times (Washington, DC)


CHINA-LIBYA HOOKUP

A fresh Pentagon intelligence report exposes China's covert cooperation with Libya in developing long-range missiles.

The latest evidence was contained in a top-secret report sent June 9 by National Security Agency Director Lt. Gen. Michael Hayden to top administration officials. The NSA report reveals that the director of Libya's Al-Fatah missile program is planning to travel to China later this month or next, according to intelligence officials who have seen it.

The Libyan will go to the University of Aeronautics and Astronautics in Beijing, China's premier training center for missile scientists and technicians. That's where China is training Libyan missile specialists.

The report is the latest in a series of intelligence reports on the growing cooperation between China and Libya on missile development.

We disclosed in this space in January that China is building a hypersonic wind tunnel in Libya for the Al-Fatah missile program, and that Libyan technicians would be sent to China for missile training.

The latest report is more bad news for the Clinton White House. National Security Adviser Samuel R. Berger had been lobbying furiously to block a bill sponsored by Sen. Fred Thompson, Tennessee Republican. His bill would punish China with sanctions for its ongoing missile and weapons technology sales to rogue states. Mr. Berger insists China's record on dangerous weapons sales is improving. But numerous intelligence reports indicate that's not true.

Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright told a Senate hearing in April that the United States formally protested the China-Libya missile cooperation. She commented after the missile sharing was reported by The Washington Times.

SECURITY PUSH

The Pentagon is further distancing itself from its export security office - literally.

Defense Department insiders complain their bosses have reduced the influence of the Technology Security Directorate because bureaucrats there opposed technology transfers to China.

Now, the office that oversees transfers of advanced computers and satellite gadgets is being moved farther away. It's been ordered to relocate to Alexandria from Army-Navy Drive, which is a short walk to the Pentagon.

The directorate was one of the lone administration voices that objected to the Commerce Department approving high-tech equipment sales to communist China.

"I think it's a scorched-earth policy toward export controls," said a Pentagon official. "It stands in the way of trade. National security or any other kind of security never really scored high with this administration as an issue of concern."

The change of address is effective Dec. 17. The Pentagon defends the move, saying all units of the Technology Security branch now will be under one roof.

CLARK SNUBBED

In Washington, political signals are ubiquitous, whether sent by politicians or military leaders.

Army Gen. Henry H. Shelton, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, sent his a week ago by skipping the retirement ceremony for Gen. Wesley Clark, former NATO supreme commander. The chairman's absence was viewed as a final indignity for the military officer many considered the hero of NATO's air war against Yugoslavia last year.

Gen. Shelton lives down the street from Fort Meyer's Summerall Field, the parade ground where the ceremony was held. …

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