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CNN: LOU DOBBS TONIGHT 18:00 ET December 1, 2005


DOBBS: We will make certain that that does not happen on this hour. Thank you very much, Kitty Pilgrim.

China's rapid push to build up its military has become even more clear after the breakup of an alleged Chinese spy ring in California. Newly released documents show the alleged spies trying to steal technology that could help China challenge the United States as the world's preeminent military power.

Casey Wian reports.


CASEY WIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Chi Mak and his wife Rebecca and his brother Tai Mak are charged with the innocuous sounding crime of failing to register as foreign agents. But according to U.S. government documents unsealed this week, the brothers have been spying for communist China since 1983. And the documents claim they've given China valuable information about what some call the crown jewels of future U.S. military technology.

DAN GOURE, LEXINGTON INSTITUTE: The indictment of these two individuals included evidence taken of lists probably prepared in Beijing or in China for them of -- kind of a shopping list of advanced technologies, which is really the smorgasbord of the best stuff in the U.S. Stuff that, in fact, is at the cutting edge.

We haven't even deployed this stuff yet. These are systems in some cases we wouldn't deploy for 10 years.

WIAN: They include a quiet propulsion system for warships, electromagnetic launching system for aircraft carriers, electronic components for submarines, the Navy's most advanced radar system, and maps of a laboratory that tests nuclear propulsion systems for warships. Intelligence experts say it's a classic case of low key patient Chinese espionage.

Engineer Chi Mak emigrated to the United States in 1983, became a U.S. citizen, and worked with a security clearance at Power Paragon, a defense contractor in Anaheim, California.

JOHN PIKE, GLOBALSECURITY.ORG: As economic ties with China have expanded, the number of opportunities for Chinese espionage has also expanded. I think the other concern that we have is that as America's defense budget has gone up from $300 billion a year to $500 billion a year, you have a lot more people with security clearances.

WIAN: Chi Mak and his wife lived a modest life in this suburban home. The indictment alleges he passed information to his brother Tai, who passed it to a government contact in China. The FBI broke up the ring as Tai was preparing to board a flight to China. Chi was only four months from retiring in his native country.

(on camera): To underscore the threat posed by Chinese espionage, China is now reportedly planning to launch a fleet of aircraft carriers for the first time in its history. It's likely they'll include technology stolen from the United States.

Casey Wian, CNN, Los Angeles.


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