Los­ing our se­crets

The Washington Times Weekly - - Editorials -

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.

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