Congressional Record: September 11, 2000 (Senate)
Page S8297-S8337

                           REPUBLIC OF CHINA


  Mr. SPECTER. [...]
  We have two other matters that have come to the fore recently--both 
issues where the Senator from Tennessee and I have been involved 
collaboratively. One is on the issue of the efforts by the People's 
Republic of China to influence U.S. elections, and the second is the 
effort of the People's Republic of China on espionage. China has 
portrayed a very aggressive posture, in my judgment. China has moved 
ahead with many people who have made contributions in the political 
arena in flat violation of U.S. law, and there are cases--now 
documented--of the aggressive efforts of the People's Republic of China 
on espionage.
  The Judiciary subcommittee that I chair on the Department of Justice 
oversight has prepared a very lengthy report on Dr. Peter Hoong-Yee 
Lee. Dr. Peter Lee on October 7 and 8, 1997, confessed to the FBI that 
he had provided classified nuclear weapons design and testing 
information to scientists of the People's Republic of China on two 
occasions in 1985 and had given classified anti-submarine-warfare 
information to the Chinese in May of 1997.
  Now it is true that espionage is not limited to the People's Republic 
of China. But when they recruit a scientist in the United States and 
acquire information about our classified nuclear weapons design and 
information on our anti-submarine-warfare procedures, that is a matter 
of considerable importance.
  There is another major case which is very much in the forefront today 
and has been for some considerable period of time, and that is the case 
involving Dr. Wen Ho Lee, where this morning's media accounts disclose 
that later today, within a few hours, the Department of Justice has 
agreed to a plea negotiation for 1 count of a 59-count indictment 
concerning taking classified material and not maintaining the 
appropriate classification. This is a case that was under investigation 
by the Department of Justice Oversight Subcommittee, which I chair, and 
we had looked into it from October of last year until December 14 when 
the FBI asked that we cease our oversight inquiries because Dr. Wen Ho 
Lee was being indicted. We complied with that request so there would be 
no question at all about any interference in the prosecution of Dr. Wen 
Ho Lee. Now that the matter is finished, we will move ahead very 
promptly on that oversight investigation.
  But the case against Dr. Wen Ho Lee is an extraordinary one which 
raised very serious questions about whether Dr. Wen Ho Lee provided the 
People's Republic of China highly classified information.
  The investigation as to Dr. Lee proceeded from 1982, was accelerated 
in 1993 and 1994, 1995, 1996, and 1997. Then there was a request by the 
FBI, which was a personal request from FBI Director Louis Freeh, 
transmitted by Assistant Director John Lewis, who went personally to 
Attorney General Reno. Attorney General Reno assigned the matter to a 
man named Daniel Seikaly who had never had any experience with an 
application for a warrant under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance 
Act. In a context that was reasonably clear that the warrant should 
have been granted, Attorney General Reno rejected that application.
  Then, inexplicably, from August of 1998 until December of 1999, the 
FBI did not act to further investigate Dr. Wen Ho Lee. Then, when the 
Cox Commission was about to publish a report in January of 1999, 
suddenly the Department of Justice and the FBI sprang into action, but 
did not take any steps to terminate Dr. Lee until March, and no steps 
to get a search warrant until April.
  Now there is no doubt that Dr. Wen Ho Lee is entitled to the 
presumption of innocence as to passing any matters to the People's 
Republic of China, which was the essence of the FBI investigation. 
Equally, there is no doubt that the Department of Justice has been 
convicted of extraordinary incompetence in the way this case has been 
handled, and the questions as to whether the People's Republic of China 
gathered key information remain unanswered and perhaps will be 
illuminated by oversight by our Judiciary Subcommittee. But it is hard 
to understand how the Department of Justice could maintain last week 
that Dr. Wen Ho Lee had information at his disposal that would "change 
the global strategic balance'' or could "result in the military defeat 
of America's conventional forces,'' posing the "gravest possible 
security risk to the supreme national interests'' of the United States.
  So when the matter is concluded--as we have every reason to suspect 
it will be--with the plea bargain, the Department of Justice is going 
to have a great many questions to answer in terms of why they permitted 
Dr. Wen Ho Lee to have access to classified information for such a 
protracted period of time when they had very substantial probable 
cause, as shown in the application for the warrant under the Foreign 
Intelligence Surveillance Act, that there were connections with the 
People's Republic of China, which might have access to very important 
nuclear secrets.
  I mention that case because here is another illustration like the Dr. 

[[Page S8308]]

Lee case where there were questions in the Dr. Peter Lee case, and he 
confessed and was convicted of passing secrets to the People's Republic 
of China. But in the long investigation on Dr. Wen Ho Lee, the 
Department of Justice is going to have some very important questions to 
answer about why Dr. Wen Ho Lee was enabled to have access to this 
classified information for such a long period of time, and why they 
kept him in detention with arguments which they have made. They argued 
even that on his release he should not have contact with his wife on 
their assertion that she might pass this highly classified information 
on, and fought it even to the Court of Appeals. Now, suddenly, in a day 
of reversal of position, which by the accounts will result in Dr. Wen 
Ho Lee's release later today, is really very extraordinary.
  The incompetence of the Department of Justice is obvious. The 
Department of Justice owes an explanation perhaps to Dr. Wen Ho Lee and 
to the people of the United States for their bungling of that case. But 
the point of the matter is, and it is sufficient really for Dr. Peter 
Lee's case, that you have an aggressive People's Republic of China 
which is after U.S. military secrets.