In October 1998, the Cox Committee, formally known as the House Select Committee on U.S. National Security and Military/Commercial Concerns with the People's Republic of China, was about to go out of business, scarcely four months after Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) had launched the "China spy and bribery" probe with typical "Newtzi" hype and disinformation.
The committee had been mandated to probe whether China had obtained U.S. missile secrets, through two American defense firms, Hughes and Loral, that had contracted the Chinese space agency to launch several of their commercial satellites. The committee was also mandated to probe whether Beijing had illegally interfered in the 1996 elections, via covert financing of the Clinton-Gore reelection campaign.
By October 1998, both investigative tracks had run aground--for simple lack of evidence that any serious violations had occurred. But then, according to public statements from committee members, things changed dramatically. On May 25, 1999, during a Capitol Hill press conference at which the committee released its long-awaited, 700-page declassified version of their report, Rep. Norman Dicks (D-Wash.) told a packed room of reporters: "In the fall of 1998, we received a briefing that presented the document given to the CIA by a walk-in that showed that the P.R.C. [People's Republic of China] had stolen design information on two nuclear warheads, the W-88 and the W-70, and had stolen technical information on five other U.S. warheads."
Dicks continued: "When I saw the dimension of the counterintelligence failure, I immediately went to my former colleague Secretary Bill Richardson to urge him to accept all of the counterintelligence recommendations of counterintelligence director Ed Curran."
Rep. Porter Goss (R-Fla.), Chairman of the House Select Committee on Intelligence and a gung-ho former CIA operations officer, spoke more directly about Rep. Dicks's pivotal role in blowing up the "nuclear espionage" scare beyond proportion. "Mr. Dicks was one of the first to see the seriousness of the problem at the labs, and he has been very, very persistent in following that. Had it not been for his persistence . . . I think that this report would have been a lot less fulsome than it is now."
In fact, despite the hyperbolic rhetoric of the declassified Cox Report, a careful reading of the report, along with the statements made by some of the more honest committee members, shows it to be a piece of "Red Menace" (or "Yellow Peril") propaganda, with little or no substance. The Cox Committee leadership--Chairman Chris Cox (R-Calif.) and ranking Democrat Norman Dicks--have produced a mean-spirited hoax, relying on incompetent scientific analysis, knowing all along that they had willfully chosen not to seek the professional testimony of the leading weapons lab scientists, who would have set the record straight and revealed the anti-China political agenda of the committee's leaders.
One of the pivotal allegations in the Cox Report is that Chinese spies stole "legacy codes" and other computer data on America's most sophisticated nuclear warheads and missiles. But committee member John M. Spratt, Jr. (D-S.C.), at the May 25 press conference, cleared the air, showing that such computer-based data, while potentially of some use, can never provide a foreign government with the basis for producing their own clone weapons.
"A lot of what our scientists know about nuclear materials is empirically based rather than scientifically derived," Spratt began. "The legacy codes are mathematical equations that model phenomena that are observed in the explosion of nuclear weapons; they record neutrons and protons moving through matter, shock waves going through materials, the effects of heat. It's a treasure-load of empirical data. If the P.R.C. has obtained these codes, they will enhance, clearly, their ability to model thermonuclear explosions. But these legacy codes are not the three-dimensional models of bombs or the CAD/CAM [computer-assisted design and manufacture] designs, and even if these codes have been lost, it's a bit much to say that these codes give the P.R.C. design information on par with our own.
"Now, I'm not competent to make that statement to you," he continued. "I do know that we have had 1,100 nuclear tests, as opposed to about 50 on their part. We've built over 30,000 nuclear warheads, as opposed to a few hundred, at most, on their part."
He then revealed the willful fraud of Cox and Dicks. "But take it from Harold Agnew. Read his letter to the Wall Street Journal on May 17, which said, `The W-88 is actually quite an old design. The basic test was done at Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory when I was director. I retired 20 years ago. It's a neat package. But having the computer printouts gives you only a general idea. Actually being able to manufacture the total system from a computer code is a different matter. No nation would ever stockpile any device based on another nation's computer codes.' "
In his letter, Dr. Agnew, in fact, went a good deal further in debunking the Cox Report. "I suspect information published in the open by the Natural Resources Defense Council has been as useful to other nations as any computer codes they may have received by illegal means. Being able actually to use information from any of the national laboratories' codes requires a great deal more knowledge than following a cake recipe. It's even questionable as to whether the Chinese computers are compatible with the weapon codes at our national laboratories."
Dr. Agnew's testimony, like that of Dr. Edward Teller, of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, would have been an invaluable addition to the Cox probe, given that not a single member of the Select Committee has an iota of scientific education or background. But, again, Representative Spratt spilled the beans: "Because of the shortness of time," he lamented, "we didn't have the opportunity to call witnesses like Dr. Agnew. I think if we had, we would have made a better investigative record, and some of these statements that were made in the overview probably would have been left on the cutting room floor."
The surfacing of Rep. Norman Dicks as the dynamo of the post-October probe has dramatic implications, given that the Cox Committee has been leading the charge against President Clinton's policy of "constructive engagement" and "strategic partnership" with China. Dicks is a longtime member of Gore, Inc., the inner circle of advisers and collaborators of Vice President Al Gore. Dicks and Gore both entered the U.S. Congress in 1976, and from the early 1980s, were engaged in a series of arms control projects together, including the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty and the development of the MX missile.
Today, Representative Dicks is Al Gore's House Whip; he has recently signed on as the chairman of the Gore for President campaign in Washington State. So, Dicks's efforts to breathe life back in the Cox Committee probe can only be understood as a Gore, Inc. operation.
And, indeed, despite his own public protests to the contrary, Vice President Gore has been caught, on a number of recent occasions, working against some of the most vital policy initiatives of the President, particularly with respect to U.S. relations with Russia and China. It is an open secret that Gore and his national security adviser Leon Fuerth, were out to sink Russian Prime Minister Yevgeni Primakov, from the moment that Primakov was appointed on Sept. 20, 1998.
In the case of the U.S.-China strategic relationship, up until the Cox Committee blitz, the Gore crowd had avoided any visible anti-Clinton shenanigans. But now all that has changed. Courtesy of Cox and Dicks, both Houses of Congress are launching a dozen separate probes based on the hyperbolic, "worst-case scenarios" contained in the committee's 700-page diatribe. Representative Cox had long ago revealed himself to be a pawn of the very Anglo-Israeli apparatus behind every upsurge of "Get Clinton" mania of the past seven years. He is an advisory board member of the Center for Security Policy, of Frank Gaffney, a former Pentagon official long-suspected of having been part of the "X Committee" spy ring of Jonathan Jay Pollard.
But it is the role of the Gore, Inc. apparatus, via Norman Dicks, that reveals the full scope of the perfidy. Without the Gore crowd, the present mad assault on U.S.-Chinese relationship would have never been possible.