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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

May 21, 1998


*Intelligence Committee Chair Shelby To Lead Inquiry As Part Of Senate Committee Oversight*

WASHINGTON, D. C. --- U. S. Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott asked Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard C. Shelby (R-Ala.) to begin the Senate's inquiry into technology transfers to China and possible breaches of national security. Sen. Shelby said the Intelligence Committee is the most logical place to begin such an investigation, but said that the probe would include other Senate committee and subcommittee jurisdictions as well.

Sen. Shelby said, "The Senate Intelligence Committee, which I chair, is the most appropriate place to begin this investigation. In addition to being a uniquely bipartisan committee, we have experience dealing with complex issues related to national security and information technology. I look forward to working with Sen. Kerrey (D-Neb.), the Vice Chair of the Intelligence Committee, to ensure that if national security breaches did occur we address those issues and ensure that we do everything possible to prevent them from happening again.

Essentially, what we are beginning is nothing more than a concerted effort to not only coordinate efforts between applicable Senate Committees, but to ensure that those committees with appropriate jurisdiction conduct proper and coordinated oversight into these matters. This is something that the Intelligence Committee already takes very seriously, but now we will have the orchestrated coordination with other committee chairmen. The security of this nation and of the American people is much too important to leave to chance, and it is our duty as Chairmen and Senators to work together to ensure that if a national security breach has in fact taken place that those issues will be appropriately addressed."

In addition to Sen. Shelby, Senators named by Majority Leader Lott to help in this coordination effort include: Sen. Jesse Helms, chairman of the Committee on Foreign Relations; Sen. Fred Thompson, Chairman of the Committee on Government Affairs; Sen. Strom Thurmond, Chairman of the Committee on Armed Services; Sen. Thad Cochran, Chairman of the Subcommittee on International Security and Proliferation; Sen. Jon Kyl of Arizona and Sen. Tim Hutchison of Arkansas.

Members of the group will meet on a weekly basis to, according to Majority Leader Lott, "ensure other Committees are fully engaged in a coordinated effort to review all aspects of the technology transfer and export control policy decisions."

Majority Leader Lott said, "There are very serious implications for American national security that must and will be examined by the Senate. I have asked Sen. Shelby, Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, to act as the initial leader of the investigation. The Intelligence Committee is the appropriate place to begin a review of Chinese intelligence efforts to influence our country. It is also the right place to examine the threat posed to American security by Chinese proliferation and ballistic missile programs. Sen. Shelby and the Task Force will ensure a timely, fair and thorough investigation of what happened, why it happened, what impact it has on our national security, and what the foreign policy implications are."

This inquiry will be conducted as part of each Senate committee's normal oversight duties.


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