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CyberAlert. Tracking Media Bias Since 1996
Friday June 4, 1999 (Vol. Four; No. 98)

Hsing-Hsing NBC's Cold War "Symbol"; FNC Confirmed Cox Warnings 

1) NBC Nightly News never followed up on the Cox Report since its last story nine days ago, but Thursday night the show focused on the dying panda: "More than just another animal in a zoo, a national symbol of a Cold War that started to end with him."

2) Confirming the Cox Report's warning, FNC's Carl Cameron learned China is not only about to test a ground based missile but also a long range submarine missile very similar to the Trident II.

3) Investor's Business Daily revealed that Los Alamos has made conventional weapons technical data vulnerable by letting a private company put it all on CDs, but only FNC cared. IBD added: "During the Clinton administration, the number of Chinese nationals working at Los Alamos has catapulted 411%."

4) CNN's Bill Press mathematically-challenged, telling Steve Forbes: "In 1996 you spent...$30 million...and you won 900,545 votes in the primary, which adds up to $33,313.16 per vote."


brokaw0604.jpg (15521 bytes)cyberno1.gif (1096 bytes) NBC Nightly News hasn't mentioned Chinese espionage since Tuesday, May 25, the day the Cox Report was released, but Thursday night the show made room for a piece on Hsing-Hsing, the ailing panda. In introducing stories on the tenth anniversary of Tiananmen Square ABC, CBS and CNN made vague references to spying.

     Thursday's Investor's Business Daily featured a front page exclusive about how the Los Alamos National Laboratory contracted with a private company to put technical blueprints for conventional arms onto CD-ROMS which China could obtain and that the number of Chinese nationals working at Los Alamos soared in the Clinton years. (Details in item #3)

     The broadcast networks and CNN ignored the disclosure. Only FNC touched the revelation in a larger story about how China will soon test a second sophisticated nuclear missile, thus confirming the warnings in the Cox Report which many dismissed, including CBS News last week. (Details on FNC's story in item #2)

     All the networks led June 3 with multiple stories on the proposed Kosovo peace plan followed by the aftermath of the Little Rock plane crash and all but NBC highlighted a Department of Transportation report on how drivers who fall asleep cause 1,500 deaths every year. The CBS Evening News added a full story on Hillary's Senate running looking more likely. Introducing a story on how China is suppressing any note of the Tiananmen anniversary with dissidents being jailed, Peter Jennings noted how Clinton would renew MFN for China, adding: "The President's decision is certain to run into opposition in Congress after the allegations of Chinese nuclear spying among other things."

     Leading into an interview with a Chinese dissident CBS Evening News anchor John Roberts relayed: "President Clinton said today he's decided to renew China's trade privileges for another year despite tension over human rights and Chinese nuclear spying."

     NBC Nightly News, as noted above, hasn't mentioned Chinagate since May 25 but Thursday night anchor Tom Brokaw lamented:
     "Nothing is going well between the United States and China these days. Now one of China's most beloved gifts to this country is failing. In fact, the great panda Hsing-Hsing at the National Zoo in Washington is very ill."
     Bob Dotson explained how the panda has lost 50 pounds and is usually listless as he suffers from kidney disease. Pandas in the wild only live to 15, but Dotson noted, Hsing-Hsing is 28. Dotson then outlined the panda's role in warming the Cold War:
     "He and his mate Ling-Ling were the only pandas in America when they arrived in 1972. A generation of American school children had never seen one close-up. The communist Chinese cut off panda shipments to the U.S. Richard Nixon's visit to the Great Wall changed all that. America's Cold Warrior brought warm smiles and got two pandas in return."

     After noting how two pandas in San Diego are the only other ones in the United States and how Ling-Ling died in 1992, Dotson concluded:
     "More than just another animal in a zoo. A national symbol of a Cold War that started to end with him and for countless kids after that, simply a national treasure."


cyberno2.gif (1451 bytes) On Thursday's Special Report with Brit Hume on FNC the host of the same name recalled how the Cox Report concluded that the Chinese would test a new weapon later this year which is based on stolen technology. It is launched from trucks, Hume noted, before introducing FNC's exclusive: "But now our Carl Cameron has word that China is posed to test even a second more sophisticated missile."

     Cameron, in a story which also ran on the Fox Report in a condensed version, explained: "This has caught U.S. military and intelligence officials off guard. China now plans to move up its development time table and later this year will test not one but two new intercontinental ballistic missiles capable of hitting the U.S. The second is particularly surprising because it comes years before any U.S. analyst had predicted China would be able to do it and because of how similar it will be to the top weapon in the U.S. arsenal."

     This second weapon is similar to the U.S. Trident II long range missiles launched from submarines which feature ten W-88 miniaturized warheads. Cameron continued: "China for now has one class of sub capable of launching only medium range missiles, but this fall China is planning to go ahead with testing of a new Ju-Lang 2 (sp?) submarine launched missile. It's designed to carry multiple miniature nuclear warheads up to 13,000 miles, making it the tactical equivalent of the U.S. Trident."

     Cameron then jumped to another related subject: "Frustrated FBI agents say the Justice Department should have already asked a grand jury to indict fired Los Alamos scientists Wen Ho Lee. Counter intelligence sources say a sting operation caught Lee mishandling secrets in 1997."

     Hume asked Cameron to clarify the significance of the second test. Cameron explained: "When the Cox Report came out a lot of critics tried to dismiss it, saying look that's a worst case scenario that moves the timetable up and gives China credit for technology that it isn't able to apply. This now suggests that not only do they have the technology but they're ready to start test launches this year."

     Indeed, as reported in the May 28 CyberAlert, on the May 27 CBS Evening News reporter Eric Engberg insisted: "Many of the report's scary findings are open to question. Were actual weapons plans among the purloined secrets? The report takes the worst case view: Probably. But a blue ribbon panel of outside experts advising the CIA looked at the same question and decided there is just no way to know. The same group concluded the Chinese spying 'has not resulted in any apparent modernization of their deployed strategic force or any new nuclear weapons deployment.'"

     As part of his answer to Hume FNC's Cameron made reference to an Investor's Business Daily story, adding: "And one other note about security. There is now word that Los Alamos has been using CD-ROMS to archive tens of thousands of documents on Air Force and Navy equipment and that those CD-ROMS have been put into the private sector. They are no longer secure at the labs but are actually here in Washington in a private company."


cyberno3.gif (1438 bytes) "Los Alamos Storing Export Data: CDs of Navy Weapons Blueprints May be at Risk," announced the front page headline over a June 3 Investor's Business Daily exclusive by Washington Bureau Chief Paul Sperry along with John Berlau and Scott Wheeler ignored by all but FNC in the reference above.

     Investor's Business Daily uncovered how weapons data has been transferred to a private company from which China may be able to obtain it and that the number of Chinese nationals working at Los Alamos soared in the Clinton years. Here's an excerpt of the June 3 story:

In the mid-1990s, an obscure shop within Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico contracted with the U.S. Navy, and possibly the U.S. Air Force, to transfer blueprints and other technical data for arms-related exports onto compact disks for computers, Investor's Business Daily has learned.

The shop, which is run by Steve K. Hue, was set up in 1995.

It was from Los Alamos that China in recent years stole much of America's most vital nuclear-weapons secrets.

Pentagon officials fear the lab's CD-ROM operation exposes conventional U.S. forces to wholesale Chinese espionage, which would pose a more immediate threat to national security.

A former Los Alamos computer scientist is suspected of turning over to China the design data to the W-88 warhead, the most sophisticated nuclear weapon, in the U.S. arsenal. The breach, which took place in the 1980s, was first discovered in 1995.

The Chinese scientist, who was fired in March, also transferred virtually the entire history of U.S. nuclear weapons testing and development to an unsecured computer network in the mid-1990s.

Around that period, Los Alamos officials approached the export controls offices of the Air Force and Navy and made a bid to store on CD-ROM the thousands of license applications they get from defense contractors each year.

The applications include hard copies of blueprints and technical specs and manuals for export equipment and technology used in fighter jets and battleships, among other arms.

If leaked to China, the data "could be more devastating than the nuclear stuff, which is less likely to be used," a senior Pentagon official said.

China, which lacks a blue-water navy and long-range air power, is eager to grab such technology to help it project power in Asia, defense experts agree.

The Navy and Air Force were looking for better ways to store and access the documents as part of Vice President Al Gore's "Reinventing Government" goal. Then-Defense Secretary William Perry also encouraged "outsourcing."

And Los Alamos, with its state-of-the-art computers and reputation for vault-like secrecy at the time, was a compelling option.

What's more, its bids came in at an "incredibly low price -- lower than you can get commercially" for digitizing such a large volume of paper records, said the Pentagon official, who wished to go unnamed.

But at the time, the Energy Department, which owns Los Alamos, did not tell the Pentagon -- nor the Commerce or State Departments, which also handle licensing of sensitive exports -- about the Chinese spying it uncovered at Los Alamos.

Officials with the lab and both military branches were reluctant to discuss details of the contracts. While they confirm the existence of the Navy contract, they claim they aren't sure the Air Force contract was ever inked.

The Pentagon official says that in fact a deal was struck in 1995. But the Air Force contract was pulled last year, he says.

The Navy contract also ended -- within "the last few months," said Los Alamos official Dave Montoya, who leads the group that handled the Navy contract.

News of Chinese spying at the lab broke in March.

Montoya added that the lab worker heading the project "is now retired." Hue, a 24-year lab veteran, said "it's about time" he retired.

Hue also told IBD that the Navy contract he worked on -- which involved his scanning arms-related export data and burning their images onto CDs -- "has been a long dead project."

But a manager in Hue's group, Jim McDonald, says the Navy hasn't killed the project. It's merely transferring its contract to a private firm in Washington.

And Hue is following the project to Washington, the manager says.

In other words, Hue isn't really retiring. Nor is the project "dead."

The data Hue is handling are so classified that the Navy locks the CD copies it gets from Hue in a safe. Masters are kept at Los Alamos, the Pentagon source says....

Those documents include specs and even blueprints to the most advanced air and sea weapons systems in the world -- things like waving receivers that help fighter pilots detect when they're being tracked by enemy radar, the Pentagon source says.

They also reveal information about:

Optical and infrared seekers and sensors for missiles.

Anti-submarine detection equipment.

"Black boxes," or electronic components systems, which help mask the presence of a plane.

Even so-called "black programs," such as the stealth fighter and bomber, that require special security clearance and secret funding.

The technical specs Hue has scanned include exports OK'd for allies -- as well as exports denied. "Even things we've said 'no' to the British on are in those CD-ROMs," the source said....

In a 1996 letter to President Clinton, former Defense Secretary Perry laid out "outsourcing" goals for the department.

In it, he also vowed: "The department will not pursue outsourcing activities that compromise our core war-fighting missions."

Citing Los Alamos leaks, the Pentagon official worries the CD project might have led to such compromises. "We need to do a damage assessment," he said.

But Energy Secretary Bill Richardson asserts the leaks have been fixed.

"I can right now face the American people and say that because of the counterintelligence measures that we have initiated, there (is) no potential serious espionage at our labs," Richardson said last week. "We've corrected the problem."

Yet the lab is still admitting Chinese visitors -- though, "as far as I know, there haven't been any (Chinese) visits in a couple of months," [Los Alamos spokesman] Danneskiold said.

Chinese visitors have flooded the lab since 1993. In the fall of that year, the administration halted background checks on foreign guests.

In 1994, the number of Chinese visitors to the two New Mexico labs -- Los Alamos and Sandia -- more than doubled to 329.

Investigators from Congress recently found at least 13 suspected spies got into the labs without proper CIA or FBI vetting. It's not clear, though, if these visiting scientists stole secrets.

The administration reinstated security checks at the labs in November 1998.

Los Alamos Director John Browne still defends the foreign visitors program, arguing that scientific interaction among countries is too important to give up.

During the Clinton administration, the number of Chinese nationals working at Los Alamos has catapulted 411%, according to an internal lab document obtained by IBD.

There were 97 native Chinese workers as of April, up from 19 in 1992. It's also up from 82 in 1995, even though Chinese spying at the lab was discovered that year.

China is on Energy's list of "sensitive countries," along with other countries such as Iraq, North Korea, Pakistan and Syria. Yet none of these countries have any workers at the lab.

And the ranks of the Chinese dwarf those of all other foreign nationals working at the lab, including even those from allied nations.

Foreign nationals from Germany total 49; Canada, 36; Britain, 28; and France, 12. Those from Taiwan -- China's arch-rival -- total just 12....

     END Excerpt

     To read today's Investor's Business Daily, go to: http://www.investors.com


cyberno4.gif (1375 bytes) Mathematically-challenged at CNN. Keith Appell of Creative Response Concepts alerted me to some potatoe-like analysis from Crossfire's liberal co-host, Bill Press. Talking with Steve Forbes on the June 2 show, Press asserted:
     "In 1996 you spent, most reports say, $30 million. Some say even higher and you won 900,545 votes in the primary, which adds up to $33,313.16 per vote."

     Huh? Press is only off by $33,000 per vote. Assuming his 900,000 and $30 million numbers are correct, that would be about $33, as in thirty-three dollars per vote won.

     I trust we won't be hearing anything from Press about how to spell potato when Dan Quayle next appears on Crossfire. -- Brent Baker


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