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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

July 8, 1998



WASHINGTON, D. C. --- U. S. Sen. Richard C. Shelby (R-Ala.), chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, delivered the following comments following a closed session of the Senate Intelligence Committee regarding the investigation into U. S. Technology transfers to China.

Partial transcript:

SEN. SHELBY: We've had another in our series of hearings on the Intelligence Committee. Today we received significant information, information I can't share with you today. But it is the testimony by the FBI Director, the Director of Central Intelligence, and others. It helps us a lot in our investigation.
We have a long way to go. We have received a great deal of information from the Justice Department, but a great deal more information is still outstanding. We hope will not have to subpoena the information, but we will know, and have a better feel for this, probably by the first of next week.
But the meeting today was good. It was, I thought, very forthcoming on the part of the FBI Director. One thing leads to another.
We're a long way from completing our investigation, but I think we're on track.

Q: What do you mean "One thing leads to the other"?

SHELBY: Well, one piece of information leads to the another. We were briefed today by the FBI Director on some new developments that we didn't have two weeks ago. He was responding to some questions we submitted for the record that (Director Freeh) didn't have at the time, but that (Director Freeh has) provided now... And we continue to do this. We appreciate his candor. He is in the central part of this investigation. I appreciate him appearing again today.

Q: These new developments you're referring to --do these have to do with the technology transfers or is it something that happened recently?

SHELBY: Well, I won't comment on what they have to do with, because we have been in a closed hearing and there are still a lot of pieces to put together.
But we feel real good about today's hearing, and I think as the weeks unfold, we'll get to the bottom of this.

Q: Sen. Shelby, the President has said, has asserted, that there has been no wrongdoing. Is there anything you want to say...

SHELBY: Well, I think that is very premature. I wouldn't, at this point in time, come to a conclusion on anything --whether there has been wrongdoing or not. It is too early, but there are indications, that we've had hearings and evidence on --in closed hearings, even today---that greatly concern me and others on the Committee. To absolve (anyone) at this point, I think would be wrong. I think it would be premature, and it would be reckless.

Q: There have been some discrepancy among agencies as to how seriously, or whether or not national security has been harmed by the process as well as the report that was transmitted after the Loral crash. Is there any kind of consensus as to what degree (disparity has existed in reports)?

SHELBY: Well, I won't get into the details, but there are some differences of opinion, but I think one of the questions ...to be answered (is): will our national security likely to be harmed because of this, or could it be harmed. It's not just will it be harmed today, but in the future. (It may take years to determine the ramifications of technology transfers.)

Q: How long do you think this investigation will last? How long do you think it will take to get to the bottom of this?

SHELBY: I think it will depend .....on how cooperative the Administration, especially the Justice Department, is with the Intelligence Committee. If they....continue to give us information and if they will accelerate the method of getting it to us, I think we can move the Committee's investigation much (more quickly). If (the Administration) delay(s) it, and if we ... reach the point of subpoena for different documents, that's another thing. I hope we will not have to do that.

Q: Can you characterize the information you're not getting?

SHELBY: No, I can't do that yet. We've requested a lot of information that would be Top Secret. We can't do that at this point.

Q: What do you have in store the next couple of weeks, hearings-wise?

SHELBY: Next week we're going to get into the Defense Technology review, (with officials from the Defense Technology Security Administration), and we hope to have an open session. I think it would be important for the American people to hear (what they have to say).

Q: Has what you've heard so far been reassuring or does it ...lend credence to greater concern.

SHELBY: (What we've learned thus far is of great concern to me.) You know we're looking at two different things here (U. S. technology transfers to China and Chinese efforts to influence U. S. elections). (The two issues could be related), who knows?

Q: Are you getting more information, then, about China trying to influence our election, did you learn something new today?

SHELBY: We're learning a lot about both.


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