[lit-ideas] Cluinton and MIRV

  • From: Scribe1865@xxxxxxx
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Sat, 3 Jul 2004 01:57:39 EDT

I first heard the accusation (of Clinton bypassing normal review channels and 
getting the Motorola Iridium deal through) on National Public Radio. If they 
have archives, I will search them, and probably produce the transcript long 
after everyone has lost interest in the discussion (which could be day before 
This is essentially what is discussed in http://www.softwar.net/missile.html
and in http://www.npec-web.org/published/china_rope.htm
The Weekly Standard, June 1, 1998
Selling China the Rope...
Clinton Didn't Start It, But He Sure Made It Worse

By Henry Sokolski

Presidential spokesman Mike McCurry last week justified the Clinton 
administration policy that allowed the transfer of satellite technology to the 
military with the hoary â??they started itâ?? defense. â??This 
said McCurry, â??has pursued the exact same policy pursued by the Bush 
      This is not really a defense of the policy, of course, but is it true? 
Republican officials, as we shall see, were not without sin. But you might say 
that they worried enough to go to confession: They tried to control against 
the leaking of sensitive technology in their dealings with China by at least 
monitoring and limiting the transactions. Not so the Clinton administration, 
which from 1993 on not only showed contempt for enforcing existing satellite 
controls but loosened them so as to make it all but impossible to know whether 
they were being violated. You might say they not only skipped confession, but 
burned the church down. 
    Todayâ??s controversy surrounds what the Chinese have managed to learn 
through launching satellites made by two American companies, Loral Space and 
Communications and Hughes Electronics. Details of a federal grand-jury 
investigation have been leaked to New York Times reporter Jeff Gerth and others 
that make 
this much clear: In February 1996 a Chinese Long March rocket carrying a 
Loral-made satellite blew up shortly after liftoff. In an effort to clarify to 
insurers who was to blame for this accident, analysis done by Loral and Hughes 
presented to the Chinese, which the U.S. Defense Department later determined 
could help China perfect more reliable, accurate, long-range ballistic 
missiles. (According to a CIA report leaked this spring, 13 Long March missiles 
nuclear warheads are aimed at American cities.)  The federal grand jury is now 
trying to determine what, if any, U.S. export-control laws may have been 
    This story has exploded because of the tandem revelations that the 
Chinese military may have made illegal campaign donations to aid Clintonâ??s 
reelection and that Loralâ??s CEO is a top donor to the Democratic party. 
Despite Justice 
Department warnings that he might undermine the grand-jury investigation of 
Loral, the president went ahead earlier this year and allowed the company to 
transfer an additional satellite to China. Eager to connect the dots of the 
scandal, the House last week voted 364 to 54 to suspend all transfers of U.S. 
satellites to China.  
    Focusing on the money is exciting, but probably misses the point when it 
comes to assessing the potential damage done to national security. In fact, 
not just Loral and Hughes, but Lockheed Martin, Motorola, and Martin Marietta 
have all worked closely with the Chinese launch industryâ??work which began not 
1996, but nearly a decade ago in 1989. And all of this history (not just the 
1996 Loral-Hughes case) bears investigating.  
So, POINT ONE, the transfer DID HAPPEN.

POINT TWO would involve showing that the transfer happened through the 
Commerce Department. [http://www.npec-web.org/published/china_rope.htm AGAIN]

   The industry, however, correctly sensed that with Clintonâ??s election the 
time for pushing for decontrol was ripe. Their first step came in late 1993 
when they asked the Commerce Department to persuade the White House to drop 
government monitoring of contractorsâ?? discussions with the Chinese. They 
wanted to 
share, unimpeded by monitors, a key technology known as â??coupling load 
analysis.â?? The crude Chinese rockets were originally designed to be so rigid 
vibration from the rocketâ??s separating stages and engines risked shattering 
delicate satellites of the sort the U.S. companies would want to launch (and 
Chinese would want to develop later on their own). Using coupling load 
the Chinese could â??softenâ?? their launchers, allowing them to carry more 
sensitive payloadsâ??be it satellites or the latest in highly accurate, 
multiple-warhead systems.

    The space industry was so eager to share this technology, it lobbied 
Congress and the executive branch throughout 1993 to be given a free hand to do 
so.   Meanwhile, government monitors continued to file compliance reports on a 
host of issues. Now, however, their concerns were handled differently: Where 
before senior State and Defense officials took action, now little or nothing 
happened. Word got out: Increasingly, industry officials disobeyed government 
guidanceâ?? shared their know-how with the Chinese, and discovered that 
for the law paid off.
POINT THREE  would involve demonstrating that clearing defense and satellite 
technology transfers through the Commerce Commission is not the standard means 
of clearing such a sensitive transfer. 
[http://www.npec-web.org/published/china_rope.htm AGAIN]
  In his defense of the Clinton policy last week, Mike McCurry cited this 
transfer to Commerce as the one change that distinguished the Clinton 
administrationâ??s policy from Bush administration practices. But the transfer 
to Commerce 
was no simple â??change.â?? It was tantamount to a complete overthrow of the 
export-control regime.  
    It was under Commerce â??controlsâ?? that Motorola and Lockheed worked with 
the Chinese to launch a series of small communications satellites known as 
Iridium. Two of these satellites at a time were successfully launched on a Long 
March rocket with a multiple-satellite dispenser of Chinese design.  A host of 
issues about the satellite dispenser were somehow addressedâ??from proper 
mounting and release of the satellites to coupling load analysis and attitude 
control. And all were resolved. The result? China now has mastered a technology 
virtually interchangeable with that of multiple independently targetable 
vehicles (MIRV), a delivery system used on Americaâ??s most advanced 
intercontinental ballistic missiles. Indeed, the MIRV system that our military 
uses today 
was borrowed from dispensers that the commercial-satellite industry first 
POINT FOUR would involve proving that such a sensitive transfer through 
unorthodox channels could only occur with permission from the highest levels of 
Clinton Administration.

And here is where I have to request a continuation, in order to demonstrate 
that the Clinton administration's change through Commerce, "tantamount to a 
complete overthrow of the old export-control regime," could only have happened 
with Clinton's authorization.

Yeah, maybe Gore okayed it?  

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