- Charles Smith is a journalist and President
of SOFTWAR, a computer security company based in Richmond, VA. He writes
frequently on issues of national security and information warfare.
- The Clinton administration allowed the
export of advanced radiation-hardened microchip technology, vital electronic
components for military satellites and nuclear weapons, to Russia and China.
- The specialized computer chips are designed
to withstand the intense radiation of space and global thermonuclear warfare.
- Radiation-hardened chips were controlled
under the State Department and the Defense Department as a "military"
technology until 1996. In early 1996, all export license authority for
radiation-hardened microchip technology was transferred to the Commerce
Department by President Clinton.
- On Jan. 13, 1999, the Commerce Department
responded to a June 1998 Freedom of Information Act request for information
on radiation-hardened chip technology transfers to China and Russia. The
Commerce response, a two-page letter, states "we issued two licenses
for Russia and three for China for the export of microprocessor technology."
- The Commerce Department response noted
that the licenses issued not only included the export of radiation-hardened
chips to Russia and China but also included "non-U.S. citizens employed
by U.S. firms in the U.S. to work with controlled microprocessor technology."
- The response also stated that "BXA
(Bureau of Export Administration) is unable to provide you with any more
detailed information on these exports. Specific information on applications
to export technology for microprocessor or microchips to China or Russia
is being withheld ... from public disclosure unless the release of such
information is determined by the Secretary to be in the national interest."
- The Clinton administration allowed Chinese
and Russian engineers inside the U.S. to study how chips designed to withstand
intense radiation are manufactured. The Chinese and Russian engineers took
those skills, techniques and equipment back to Russia and China to produce
their own advanced, radiation-hardened, computer chips. The Commerce Department
has more but will not give up the secret documents without a legal fight.
- Military technology certainly went east
and money certainly went west. The crossroads for the high-tech military
commerce was the White House. The list of Clinton officials taking money
from, or acting as agents for the Chinese government grows longer and goes
to higher levels with each return of FOIA documents.
- For example, Webster Hubbell was selected
by Janet Reno in 1993 to oversee a secret encryption chip project. John
Huang sought and obtained 37 classified briefings on encryption technology
from the CIA. Both Hubbell and Huang were well paid by the Lippo Group,
the Riady family empire run with the Chinese government as half partners.
- In addition, there is abundant evidence
that Chinese army agents met directly with Clinton officials to obtain
military communications satellite technology. In August 1994, Lt. General
Shen Roujun, the vice minister of the Commission of Science, Technology,
and Industry for National Defense (COSTIND), met with Loral CEO Bernard
Schwartz and Ron Brown in Beijing.
- According to the GAO, COSTIND is "an
agency of the Chinese military. ... COSTIND oversees development of China's
weapon systems and is responsible for identifying and acquiring telecommunications
technology applicable for military use."
- The documents obtained from the Commerce
Department clearly note the 1994 Peoples Liberation Army/Loral meeting
was arranged by Ron Brown and President Clinton. General Shen arranged
to buy satellites for the Chinese army from Loral using phony commercial
licenses issued through Ron Brown's Commerce Department.
- In February 1996, a Chinese Long March
rocket carrying a Loral Intelsat satellite failed and crashed on lift-off.
The Loral Intelsat payload was also destroyed. The Chinese intended to
launch the Loral satellite into deep space as they had been paid to do
by Mr. Schwartz.
- However, it was discovered that a vital
computer control board was missing from the satellite. The satellite would
have failed in orbit. The missing board from the Loral Intelsat satellite
is no mystery. Chinese engineers removed it and kept the board for examination.
The stolen Loral electronics consist of radiation-hardened, encrypted,
telemetry chips, stored in a hardened flight control box similar to those
found on airliners.
- The Chinese operation was the perfect
crime. China could blame American engineers when the satellite failed to
function. The sabotaged satellite would be given up as space junk and lost
forever. The U.S. could not recover the satellite to discover the real
cause of the failure without great expense.
- However, fate took a twisted path, and
so did the Chinese rocket. The Long March rocket failed on launch and crashed
into a nearby Chinese village, killing over 200 innocent civilians. The
failure of the Long March allowed the U.S. to recover the sealed satellite
guidance box that revealed the control board of radiation-hardened chips
- The NSA changed all U.S. satellite codes
as a result of the stolen Loral chips, costing the taxpayer millions of
- Further documentation obtained from the
Defense Department shows that China has launched a massive and expensive
laser weapons build-up. The new Chinese weapons include anti-cruise missile,
anti-satellite and lasers designed to instantly "blind" soldiers
on the battlefield. China has already deployed the blinding laser and is
currently offering the man portable unit for export.
- According to the documents, Chinese laser
technology is being run by Li Hui, the director of the Beijing Institute
of Remote Sensing Equipment. The Defense Department document noted that
the Chinese "Institute of Remote Sensing" is actually a front
for Army missile guidance design laboratories. The Institute of Remote
Sensing is "a developer of optical precision and photoelectric guidance
systems for surface-to-air missiles." Director Li Hui recently stated
that "laser technology is the only effective means to counter cruise
- Recent translations of PLA documentation
shows the Chinese army has accelerated development of beam weapons. Red
Chinese army doctrine states laser weapons will be used for "active
jamming of electro-optics, blinding combatants and damaging sensors, causing
laser guided weapons to deviate from their true targets and target destruction."
- The newly declassified Defense Department
documentation describes in detail the use of high speed computers with
a powerful new laser, controlled through "fast-steering mirrors."
The new laser uses "piezoelectric" actuators that flex very thin
mirrors at high speeds to "compensate for beam wander caused by device
jitter and atmospheric turbulence."
- The system allows the laser to focus
a powerful light beam over long distances. An air defense version of the
new PLA laser is estimated to be able to deliver over 10,000 watts of output
power on a target up to 500 miles away.
- According to the Defense document, China
will deploy an even more powerful ground-based laser by the year 2000.
The new laser requires a "4 meter (M) diameter beam director mirror
for an antisatellite mission. The Nanjing Astronomical Instrument Research
Center ... is currently producing a 4.3 M (meter) diameter mirror for the
Beijing Observatory. This mirror is scheduled to be installed in the year
- In addition, the U.S. Naval Institute
Proceedings magazine has revealed that China is also offering a blinding
laser weapon for export. The January 1999 issue of Proceedings noted the
Chinese are now offering their ZM-87 battlefield laser on the open market.
- The ZM-87 is a "dazzler" system,
designed to disable night-vision equipment and to instantly blind combatants
on the battlefield. Blinding lasers are banned by several international
treaties. The ZM-87 resembles a conventional machine gun on a tripod mount
with a separate power unit and sighting system.
- The U.S. military, starved by Clinton
budgets into a shell of its former self, cannot afford to counter the PLA
laser. U.S. armed forces have deployed no counter-measures, such as simple
protective glasses to shield soldiers from lasers. American pilots rely
on aging night-vision equipment that cannot deal with the intense light-beam
- Furthermore, the current U.S. missile
inventory relies on 1970s microchip technology with a fraction of the speed,
resistance to radiation and capability of those in their PLA counter-parts.
The American military relies on a satellite communications system that
is rapidly degrading into useless junk. According to the GAO, the current
U.S. military satellite network is already not capable of supporting a
major war and will fail within the next five years.
- In contrast, the success of the Communist
Chinese espionage effort to penetrate America can be measured by the sudden
and rapid advance of PLA weapons during Bill Clinton's presidency. China
has taken a great leap forward from the frail force of ex-Soviet 1950s,
vacuum tube driven, left-overs, deployed in December 1992.
- Current PLA weapons such as the C.802
cruise missile, the DF-15 mobile, tactical-ballistic missile and the Hong-7
super-sonic bomber, all use state-of-the-art, radiation-hardened, microchips.
These advanced weapons communicate directly with PLA troops using state-of-the-art,
radiation-hardened, global satellite communication systems.
- The successful effort by China to obtain
details on U.S. microchip technology included both espionage and sabotage.
The red intelligence windfall freed the Chinese army to finance new weapons
such as lasers while it modernized using advanced American technology.
The legacy that President Clinton will leave for the next century is a
modern Chinese army equipped for global war.