Losing our secrets
With a host of promised congressional investigations on Iraq, intelligence and homeland security, it’s worth noting the relative Democratic silence on espionage by Communist China. The latter’s spying successes on the Bush administration’s watch are indisputable. Will Democrats pursue this evident national-security threat as aggressively as headline-grabbers like Iraq? Color us skeptical.
The latest news is the apparent compromise of highly classified stealth technology used on B-2 bomber engines. As Bill Gertz of The Washington Times reported, federal authorities accuse former defense contractor Noshir S. Gowadia, an Indian-born American citizen, of passing highly classified stealth technology to China for at least $110,000 and possibly as much as $2 million as he traveled secretly to China six times over the period 2002-2005. A Hawaii resident, he also allegedly helped China modify cruise missiles to intercept U.S. air-to-air missiles, helped the Communist government make other technical improvements to other systems and exposed secret and top-se- cret information pertaining to U.S. stealth technology by e-mail to recipients in Israel, Germany and Switzerland. The first offense allegedly occurring in a lecture attended by foreign nationals of as many as eight countries in 1999.
Mr. Gowadia, who pleads innocent, says he “wanted to help these countries further their self aircraft protection systems” and drum up customers for future business. If federal authorities are right, the Chinese have scored a huge success on a key U.S. weapons system thanks to the efforts of a single businessman and his alleged conspirators, at least one of whom is employed overtly by the Chinese government.
This follows a string of espionage scores by Communist China over the last several years. Earlier this year, two Chinese-born brothers were arrested in Los Angeles for allegedly passing along Navy warship and submarine weapons secrets. Then there was the shocking case of Los Angeles businesswoman and triple agent Katrina Leung, who turned out to be the purveyor of secret details of highly sensitive U.S. intelligence operations against China. She had been sexually involved with two of the FBI’s most senior counterintelligence officers. The long march of Chinese espionage undergirds that country’s long-term effort to maximize its military power and become Asia’s regional hegemon.
The biggest scandal, as Mr. Gertz writes in “Enemies: How America’s Foes Steal Our Vital Secrets — And How We Let It Happen,” is that “U.S. officials still have done almost nothing to correct the ineptness and poor leadership that have brought us two decades of spy scandals.” Mr. Gertz contends that in the five years since September 11, government agencies have actually made counterintelligence less of a priority — a fact which cries out for national-security investigation.
Of course, Chinese espionage simmers whereas Iraq lights up debate and grabs headlines. Thus, and for no reason pertaining to its actual dangers, Chinese espionage is likely to be overlooked by the incoming Democratic congressional leadership.