- NEW YORK (Reuters) - A comprehensive new analysis by U.S. intelligence
officials has concluded that China stole design information about the
United States' most advanced nuclear warhead from a government nuclear
weapons lab, the New York Times reported on Wednesday.
- The intelligence report is expected to
be presented to the Clinton administration and Congress on Wednesday, the
newspaper said, quoting unnamed government officials.
- The White House, citing other intelligence
sources, has previously said evidence of Chinese atomic espionage is less
conclusive, the Times said.
- The new report looks at a key finding
of a select congressional committee that has probed allegations of illegal
transfers of high technology to China, the Times said. It also includes
a broad examination of the development of China's nuclear weapons capabilities
over the last few decades.
- The committee, chaired by California
Republican Representative Christopher Cox, embraced findings of Energy
Department analysts who concluded that China stole design data for the
W-88 nuclear warhead from the Los Alamos nuclear laboratory in the 1980s
and the theft was critical to Beijing's development of a modern miniaturized
- The new intelligence analysis determined
that China did benefit from espionage through the theft of W-88 warhead
design data from Los Alamos, the Times said. But it also found China had
procured sensitive nuclear data from non-secret sources, including academic
exchanges and unintentional leaks by scientists, the newspaper said.
- The newspaper said it could not determine
details of the intelligence community's damage assessment before Wednesday's
scheduled release. Much of the study will remain classified and officials
would not say whether the report addresses evidence that China has stolen
other U.S. nuclear designs more recently, the Times said.
- Although Energy Department officials
have raised concerns about evidence of Chinese espionage at Los Alamos
since 1996, a 1997 CIA report was used by the White House to downplay
Energy officials' conclusions, the Times said. U.S. President Bill Clinton
also said as recently as last month that it was not yet certain that Chinese
espionage had occurred.
- The release of the new study comes at
a time of anger over the administration's early responses to reports of
Chinese atomic espionage. Evidence of Chinese nuclear spying has prompted
a series of probes in both Congress and the executive branch.