TV's Great Stonewall of China Continues

Energy Department Misleads Congress, Delays Release of Report to the Public, But Where Are the Nets?

TV's Great Stonewall of China Continues

While the Pentagon aims to have enough personnel and materiel to fight two wars at once, the TV networks have demonstrated they can't cover two international stories at the same time. All eyes are on Kosovo, and none on what may be a far more dangerous threat to U.S. national security: China.

Cox on Fox. Yesterday, Reps. Christopher Cox and Norman Dicks appeared on Fox News Sunday to discuss their special bipartisan House probe of Chinese espionage. When asked why the committee's report has been so long in coming, Cox replied: "Even though we've reached agreement, for example, with the CIA or the FBI, the Department of Energy will have an objection not based on sources or methods but based on some other ground and if declassification is, in fact, the legitimate aim here, if we're trying to declassify - not just say that we could classify this if we wished to do so - then I think those kinds of objections not based on sources and methods are not proper in this circumstance and we're trying to, frankly, turn them around on that." But the developing scandal of DOE cover-ups and stonewalling isn't gaining TV traction.

Trulock Blocked. A week ago, Energy Department intelligence adviser Notra Trulock testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee. Only CBS Evening News filed a full report. [See box.] FNC gave it 43 seconds. ABC and NBC did nothing. CBS's Sharyl Attkisson added: "In fact, some intelligence officials now regard the theft of design plans for America's most sophis-ticated nuclear warhead, the W-88, the most important spy case in recent history, but Trulock says his efforts to fix se-curity breaches at the weapons labs were blocked at every turn, even when he identified suspects in early 1996."

On Thursday, Trulock appeared before the House Armed Services Committee. Associated Press reported: "Energy Department officials acknowledged Thursday they withheld information from a House subcommittee last fall on an alleged Chinese spying case. A department intelligence officer said he was told by the deputy energy secretary not to talk about the case, a charge the senior agency official denied." Only FNC covered the House hearing, in 25 seconds.

How many stories will it take to get the networks interested in the damage done by Chinese espionage? So far, it's balked at covering:

The Neutron Dance. Chinese agents bragged about stealing neutron bomb secrets from U.S. nuclear labs in 1995. One U.S. official announced: "The penetration is total...they are deep, deep into the labs' black [top secret] programs." Beijing also acquired two unexploded U.S. cruise missiles from the attack on Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan.

The Wiretap Tip. What about the mysterious Justice Department wiretap record? Out of 2,686 wiretap requests, only the call to tap alleged spy Wen Ho Lee was denied.

Chung's Chinese Check-Writers. Johnny Chung has told Justice Department investigators that the chief of Chinese military intelligence gave him $300,000 to donate to the 1996 Clinton-Gore campaign. Chung also has linked fund-raisers Charlie Trie and John Huang to money from Chinese military intelligence.

When asked about Chung's campaign cash, Cox told Fox News Sunday host Tony Snow that he believes the money was "for purposes, which I'm convinced, extended to the acquisition of technology, not just putting the money into campaigns." So where's the follow-up? - Tim Graham