FAS Note: The eighth of Senator Lott's proposals below would require the page-by-page review of most of the 600 million pages of documents that have been declassified under Executive Order 12958 since 1995.
Congressional Record: May 26, 1999 (Senate)
NATIONAL DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION ACT FOR FISCAL YEAR 2000 [...] Mr. LOTT. Mr. President, I see no other Senator here at this moment. I believe there is another Senator who will be here at about 10:30 to offer another amendment, but I would like to submit an amendment for consideration at this point. Amendment No. 394 (Purpose: To improve the monitoring of the export of advanced satellite technology, to require annual reports with respect to Taiwan, and to improve the provisions relating to safeguards, security, and counterintelligence at Department of Energy facilities) Mr. LOTT. Mr. President, I send an amendment to the desk and ask for its immediate consideration. The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will report. The legislative assistant read as follows: The Senator from Mississippi [Mr. Lott] proposes an amendment numbered 394. Mr. LOTT. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that reading of the amendment be dispensed with. The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered. (The text of the amendment is printed in today's Record under "Amendments Submitted.") Mr. LOTT. Mr. President, I am pleased to offer this amendment on behalf of myself, and Senators Warner, Shelby, Murkowski, Domenici, Specter, Thomas, Kyl, and Hutchinson. This package is the product of the serious investigative and oversight work performed by the relevant committees and other Senators who have devoted considerable attention to the issues of satellite exports, Chinese espionage, lax security at DOE facilities, foreign counterintelligence wiretaps, and more. I commend my cosponsors and others for their helpful efforts in this regard. I have stated that the damage to U.S. national security as a result of China's nuclear espionage is probably the greatest I have seen in my entire career. And, unfortunately, the administration's inattention to--or even hostility towards--counterintelligence and security has magnified this breach. It is simply incredible that China has acquired sensitive, classified information about every nuclear warhead in the U.S. arsenal. But this apparently is precisely what happened. It is simply incredible that American companies illegally provided information to the Chinese that will allow them to improve their long- range missiles aimed at American cities. But this apparently is exactly what happened. It is simply incredible that American exports were delivered to certain Chinese facilities that will assist their weapons of mass destruction program. But this apparently is exactly what happened. It is simply incredible that it took this administration 2 years from the date the National Security Adviser was [[Page S5983]] first briefed by DOE officials on the problem of Chinese espionage at the nuclear weapons laboratories, to sign a new Presidential directive to strengthen counterintelligence at the labs and elsewhere. But this apparently is exactly what happened. And, after all this, it is simply incredible that the President would claim that all this damage was a result of actions of previous administrations and that he had not been told of any espionage that had occurred on his watch. But this is exactly what the President said in a mid-March press conference. As I have stated previously, the Congress must take several steps to better understand what happened and how it happened, and to lessen the likelihood of a recurrence of such events in the future. First, we must aggressively probe the administration to determine the facts. We know much of what happened. But we don't have all the facts, and we certainly don't know why certain events unfolded the way they did. We need to get to the bottom of that. Several committees are exploring aspects of this scandal, and it is multi-faceted: DOE security; whistleblower protections; counterintelligence at the FBI; CIA operations; export controls; illegal campaign contributions; the Justice Department; the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, FISA; DOD monitoring of satellite launches in China; waivers of laws for companies under investigation for illegal activities; and much, much more. Second, we must take all reasonable steps now to remedy problems we have identified to date. Does this mean that the actions recommended in this bill, or in this amendment, will solve the problem of lab security for all time? Of course not. But they do represent important first steps in addressing the myriad problems that have emerged during the various on-going investigations. For example, we know that security and counter-intelligence at the labs was--and is--woefully inadequate. We can take steps to begin to fix that problem. We know that the Clinton Commerce Department failed miserably to adequately control and protect national security information as it relates to commercial communications satellites and rocket launchers. We took steps last year in the Defense authorization bill to help protect national security by transferring from Commerce to State the responsibility for reviewing license applications for such satellites. Third, we must hold appropriate executive branch officials accountable for their actions. This means we need to understand why certain Clinton administration officials acted the way they did. Why, for example, were DOE intelligence officials told they could not brief the Congress on aspects of this espionage investigation and its implications? Why did the Reno Justice Department refuse to approve a wiretap request? Why was a certain suspect's computer not searched much, much earlier when, in fact, the suspect had agreed several years earlier to such a search? And why was a waiver granted for the export of a satellite built by an American company that was under investigation by the Department of Justice and whose head was the single largest individual contributor to the Democratic National Committee? In posing these and other questions, does this mean the Senate is on some partisan witch-hunt? Absolutely not. I recognize that a full understanding of this issue requires going back decades. For example, the reports recently issued by the Senate Intelligence Committee and the Cox Committee in the House reviewed documents from prior administrations. But simply saying that errors were made in previous administrations cannot and does not absolve this President and this administration from responsibility. In fact, this administration's record in the area of security and counter-intelligence, in its relations with China, and in several other areas, leaves much to be desired. As I said before, there are some steps we can and should take now. For example, the Defense authorization bill before us now proposes several important measures regarding Department of Energy security and counterintelligence. Likewise, the intelligence authorization bill includes several legislative proposals on this topic as well. My amendment is entirely consistent with, and indeed builds upon, those two vital legislative measures. Allow me to describe what this amendment proposes to do. First, it seeks to address the Loral episode, wherein the President approved a waiver for the export of a Loral satellite for launch on a Chinese rocket at the same time Loral was under investigation by the Justice Department for possible criminal wrong-doing. This amendment requires the President to notify the Congress whenever an investigation is undertaken of an alleged violation of U.S. export control laws in connection with the export of a commercial satellite of U.S. origin. It also requires the President to notify the Congress whenever an export license or waiver is granted on behalf of any U.S. person or firm that is the subject of a criminal investigation. I am absolutely convinced that had these "sunshine" provisions been in effect at the time of the Loral waiver decision, I doubt very seriously that the President would have issued his decision in favor of Loral. Second, the amendment requires the Secretary of Defense to undertake certain actions that would significantly enhance the performance and effectiveness of the DOD program for monitoring so-called "satellite launch campaigns" in China and elsewhere. For instance, under this amendment, the DOD monitoring officials will be given authority to halt a launch campaign if they felt U.S. national security was being compromised. In addition, the Secretary will be obligated to establish appropriate professional and technical qualifications, as well as training programs, for such personnel, and increase the number of such monitors. Furthermore, to remove any ambiguity as to what technical information may be shared by U.S. contractors during a launch campaign, the amendment requires the Secretary of Defense to review and improve guidelines for such discussions. Finally, it requires the Secretary to establish a counter intelligence program within the organization responsible for performing such monitoring functions. Third, my amendment enhances the intelligence community's role in the export license review process. This responds to a clear need for greater insight by the State Department and other license-reviewing agencies into the Chinese and other entities involved in space launch and ballistic missile programs. In this regard, it is worth noting that the intelligence community played a very modest role in reviewing the license applications for exports that subsequently were deemed to have harmed national security. This section also requires a report by the Director of Central Intelligence on the efforts of foreign governments to acquire sensitive U.S. technology and technical information. Fourth, based on concerns that China continues to proliferate missile and missile technology to Pakistan and Iran, this amendment expresses the sense of Congress that the People's Republic of China should not be permitted to join the Missile Technology Control Regime, MTCR, as a member until Beijing has demonstrated a sustained commitment to missile nonproliferation and adopted an effective export control system. Any honest appraisal would lead one to the conclusion, I believe, that China has not demonstrated such a commitment and does not have in place effective export controls. Now we know, from documents released by the White House as part of the Senate's investigation, that the Clinton administration wanted to bring the PRC into the MTCR as a means of shielding Beijing from missile proliferation sanctions laws now on the books. This section sends a strong signal that such an approach should not be undertaken. Fifth, the amendment expresses strong support for stimulating the expansion of the commercial space launch industry here in America. As we have seen recently with a number of failed U.S. rocket launches, there is a crying need to improve the performance of U.S.-built and launched rockets. This amendment strongly encourages efforts to promote the domestic commercial space launch industry, including through the elimination of legal or regulatory barriers to long-term competitiveness. [[Page S5984]] The amendment also urges a review of the current policy of permitting the export of commercial satellites of U.S. origin to the PRC for launch and suggests that, if a decision is made to phase-out the policy, then launches of such satellites in the PRC should occur only if they are licensed as of the commencement of the phase-out of the policy and additional actions are taken to minimize the transfer of technology to the PRC during the course of such launches. Sixth, the amendment requires the Secretary of State to provide information to U.S. satellite manufacturers when a license application is denied. This addresses a legitimate concern expressed by U.S. industry about the current export control process. I not that each of these recommendations was included in the Senate Intelligence Committee's "Report on Impacts to U.S. National Security of Advanced Satellite Technology Exports to the PRC and the PRC's Efforts Influence U.S. Policy." That report was approved by an overwhelmingly bipartisan vote, so there is nothing partisan whatsoever in these recommendations. My amendment also requires the Secretary of Defense to submit an annual report on the military balance in the Taiwan Straits, similar to the report delivered to the Congress earlier this year. That report, my colleagues may recall, was both informative and deeply troubling in its assessment that the PRC has underway a massive buildup of missile forces opposite our friend, Taiwan. Annual submission of this report will assist the Congress in working with the administration in assessing future lists of defense articles and services requested by Taiwan as part of the annual arms sales talks between the U.S. and Taiwan. Eighth, the amendment proposes a mechanism for determining the extent to which then-Secretary of Energy Hazel O'Leary's "Openness Initiative" resulted in the release of highly-classified nuclear secrets. We already know, for example, that some material has been publicly-released that contained highly-sensitive "restricted Data" or "Formerly Restricted Data." While we are rightly concerned about what nuclear weapons design or other sensitive information has been stolen through espionage, at the same time we must be vigilant in ensuring that Mrs. O'Leary's initiative was not used, and any future declassification measures will not be used, to provide nuclear know-how to would-be proliferators in Iran, North Korea, and elsewhere. Ninth, the amendment proposes putting the FBI in charge of conducting security background investigations of DOE laboratory employees, versus the Office of Personnel Management as is currently the case. I applaud the Armed Services Committee for including additional funds in their bill for addressing the current backlog of security investigations. Tenth, and lastly, the amendment proposes increased counterintelligence training and other measures to ensure classified information is protected during DOE laboratory-to-laboratory exchanges, should such exchanges occur in the future. For example, having trained counter-intelligence experts go along on any and all visits of lab employees to sensitive countries, is a small but useful step in the direction of enhanced security. Mr. President, I readily concede that this package of amendments will not solve all security problems at the Nation's nuclear weapons laboratories. Nor will it solve the myriad problems identified to date in the Senate's on-going investigation of the damage to U.S. national security from the export of satellites to the PRC or from Chinese nuclear espionage. These are, as I mentioned before, small but useful steps to address known deficiencies. Most of these recommendations stem from the bipartisan report issued by the Intelligence Committee. I strongly urge my colleagues to support this important amendment. In summary, good work has been done by the Cox committee in the House of Representatives. They should be commended for the work they have done in this critical area. They should be commended for the fact that it has been bipartisan. It would have been easy for them to veer into areas or procedures that would have made it very partisan. They did not do that. The same thing is true in the Senate. The Senate has chosen so far not to have a select committee or a joint committee. The Senate has continued to try to do this in the normal way. We have had hearings by the Intelligence Committee. They have done very good work. Chairman Shelby has been thoughtful and relentless, and he continues in that way. The Armed Services Committee, under Senator Warner, the Energy Committee, under Senator Murkowski, Foreign Relations, Governmental Affairs--all the committees with jurisdiction in this area have been having hearings, they have had witnesses, and they have been coming up with recommendations. As a matter of fact, some of the recommendations that have been developed are included in this Department of Defense authorization bill. I understand other proposed changes to deal with these security lapses and with counterintelligence will be included in the intelligence authorization bill that will come up in early June. I do not believe we should rush to judgment. We should make sure we understand the full ramifications of what has happened. We should not say it has been just this administration or that administration or the other administration. This is about the security of our country. I agree with Congressman Dicks when he quoted former Senator Henry Jackson about how, when it comes to national security, we should all just pursue it as Americans. This amendment I have just sent to the desk is a further outgrowth of some of the information we have found through some of the hearings that have occurred. There were some provisions in it that I am sure would have evoked some criticism, and we have taken those out, so that we can take our time and deal more thoughtfully with it over a period of time. We are going to have to deal with the Export Administration and the fact that law was allowed to lapse back in 1995. But there are some things we can do now. To reiterate, this is what this amendment will do: First, it requires the President to notify the Congress whenever an investigation is undertaken of an alleged violation of U.S. export control laws in connection with the export of a commercial satellite of U.S. origin. It will also require the President to notify the Congress whenever an export license or waiver is granted on behalf of any U.S. person or firm that is the subject of a criminal investigation. Second, the amendment requires the Secretary of Defense to undertake certain actions that would significantly enhance the performance and effectiveness of the DOD program for monitoring so-called satellite launch campaigns in China and elsewhere. Third, the amendment will enhance the intelligence community's role in the export license review process and requires a report by the DCI on the efforts of foreign governments to acquire sensitive U.S. technology and technical information. Fourth, the amendment expresses the sense of Congress that the People's Republic of China should not be permitted to join the Missile Technology Control Regime as a member until Beijing has demonstrated a sustained commitment to missile nonproliferation and adopted an effective export control system. The amendment expresses strong support for stimulating the expansion of the commercial space launch industry in America. This amendment strongly encourages efforts to promote the domestic commercial space launch industry. That is why we have seen more of this activity occur in other countries, particularly China and even Russia, because we do not have that domestic commercial space launch capability here. We should eliminate legal or regulatory barriers to long-term competitiveness. The amendment also urges a review of the current policy of permitting the export of commercial satellites of U.S. origin to the PRC for launch. The amendment requires the Secretary of State to provide information to U.S. satellite manufacturers when a license application is denied. The amendment also requires the Secretary of Defense to submit an annual report on the military balance in the Taiwan Straits, similar to the report developed earlier this year and was delivered to the Congress. The amendment proposes a mechanism for determining the extent to [[Page S5985]] which classified nuclear weapons information has been released by the Department of Energy. It proposes putting the FBI in charge of conducting security background investigations of DOE Laboratory employees versus OPM. It seems to me that really is beyond the capabilities of the Office of Personnel Management. Surely, the FBI would be better conducting the security background investigations. This does not call for putting the FBI totally in charge of security at our Labs, for instance. That is something we need to think about more. I had thought the FBI should be in charge, and there are some limitations in that area. That is an area we should think about a lot more. We should work through the committee process. We should think together in a bipartisan way about how to do it. Clearly, the security at our Laboratories has to be revised. We have to have a much better counterintelligence process, and our committees are working on that. Last, the committee proposes increased counterintelligence training and other measures to ensure classified information is protected during DOE Laboratory-to-Laboratory exchanges. These are pieces that I think Senators can agree on across the board. They are targeted at dealing with the problem, not trying to fix blame, not claiming that this is going to solve all the problems. But these are some things we can do now that will help secure these Laboratories in the future and get information we need and give enhanced capabilities to the intelligence communities. I urge my colleagues to review it. It has been, of course, considered by the committees that have jurisdiction. We have provided copies of it to the minority, and we invite their participation. I believe this is something that can be bipartisan and can be accepted, after reasonable debate, overwhelmingly. I certainly hope so. I appreciate the opportunity to offer this amendment. I yield the floor.