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From the March 1999 MediaWatch

On the Bright Side:

Lou Dobbs Goes to Los Alamos

At least one major media figure appreciates the gravity of the burgeoning Los Alamos espionage scandal. On March 9, CNN Vice President Lou Dobbs anchored his Moneyline NewsHour from Los Alamos where he devoted five stories to the allegations involving Chinese spying and stolen nuclear technology. Dobbs also aired additional interviews with former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and Energy Secretary Bill Richardson on the same program.

Dobbs underscored the magnitude of the scandal in his opening. Calling it "arguably the most alarming nuclear espionage scandal in nearly 50 years, at least since the Rosenbergs," Dobbs stressed that "the growing scandal involves more than one man suspected of betrayal and espionage." Indeed, as reports by correspondents Bill Dornan and Rebecca MacKinnon showed, the White Houseís tardy response to the charges raised still more questions about why the administration would relax restrictions on technology exports to China at the same time it knew about the spying. Dornan noted the White House had not pursued the breach in a way that was either "immediate" or "vigorous."

In his interview with Richardson, Dobbs showed he was equally circumspect about White House claims of a strenuous pursuit of the spying, asking, "Is it your judgment, it has been charged, that security here is just too lax?" Later, Dobbs pressed Richardson on the correlation between satellite technology transfer and alleged espionage at Los Alamos, noting that a "number of questions arise" when discussing the exact nature of the association.

Dobbs concluded the Los Alamos portion of the show by asking Wolf Blitzer about the "central role" China had played in three of the major controversies facing the Clinton administration: the campaign finance scandal, the satellite technology transfer and the Chinese espionage case. Itís good to know someone in the press still takes allegations of stolen nuclear technology seriously.







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