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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)


DoD News Briefing

Thursday, June 4, 1998 - 2:10 p.m. (EDT)
Mr. Kenneth H. Bacon, ASD (PA)


Q: I have a couple of questions about the Loral caper. Is it Mr. Tarbel's organization that recommended that there was a violation of national security in the Loral review of the Chinese analysis of the long march explosion? Is it just him or did it go up through the chain of command? I don't want content so much as I want procedure.

A: First of all, what I can say on this is somewhat limited because this whole issue is the subject to an ongoing criminal investigation which has been initiated by this Administration, by this government, following the launch failure in 1996 in the post failure review.

The job of the Defense Technology Security Agency is to make sure that important defense technology is not improperly conveyed to other countries, so it provides advice on the licensing of technology transfers, and it also has a capability of working with other elements of the military to evaluate when transfers do take place and what might be the impact created by those transfers. That's what the DTSA did in this case. It evaluated what happened and sent a report about that to the State Department, and that report was then forwarded to the Justice Department which launched an investigation, and that investigation is ongoing.

Q: Did that report go through Mr. Warner, Mr. Slocombe, the Department of Defense, the State Department? Or did it go directly, or did it go directly from Mr. Tarbel's shop to the State Department?

A: I think it went through normal licensing channels. That's my impression.

Q: Just his...

A: I believe that it went through normal licensing channels, so it went through his shop over to the State Department.

Q: I've seen news accounts saying the Air Force intelligence supported the view that there was a violation of national security. Is this the DIA, an Air Force guy in DIA, or is this specifically Air Force intelligence operations supporting Mr...

A: They relied on some work by a specific office within the Air Force in reaching their conclusion, which is...

Q: But not the DIA...

A: No.

Q: I have a question about the Gulf. This morning General Hawley said that he would like to see U.S. air forces in the Gulf reduced to below the November pre-crisis level. I was wondering if that's an option that's being... that's under consideration, and whether that would be a goal that Secretary Cohen would share?

A: I don't know the answer to that question. I'll try to find it out.

Q: Today is sadly the ninth anniversary of the massacre at Tiananmen. I would like to ask specifically about India. The Indian government has said that their primary concern is China as far as their nuclear development is concerned. Their Defense Minister said this. Then today, the South China Morning Post says Mr. Jiang, the President of China, has said about India, "They have aspired for a long period of time to be the main power of South Asia." Then Mr. Jiang said he was surprised by the tests which clearly show "India is targeting China and Pakistan."

So apparently China and India think that they are each other's rivals in this nuclear matter. Does the United States see it that way? And why is this country so silent about China's role in the nuclear matters in the Indian subcontinent?

A: First of all, in answer to your first question, I think I'll let the Chinese and Indian officials you quoted speak for themselves. I think they are probably better able to assess their own security concerns than I am.

This government's position is very clear. We think that an arms race in South Asia is dangerous and destabilizing. Secretary Albright is in Geneva today working to try to stop that arms race. I think it's significant that the chairman of this meeting is the Chinese Foreign Minister. This is the P-5, the permanent five nuclear power group, the P-5 on the UN Security Council. I believe that China itself would like to stop an arms race in South Asia. We will have to see what comes out of those meetings. There's a second meeting in London I think over the weekend, the so-called G-8 meeting, which is a broader group. That will also be important.

Q: You guys have now gotten a response from Lockheed to your notice and I'm wondering what the Pentagon plans to do? Fire them?

A: I don't know the answer to that question. I haven't seen the response. We are looking at other contracting possibilities, having a second contractor involved in the program. We're looking, also, looking at two things. One, how to get the current contractor to solve the problems and try to get the program back on track; and two, looking at a second contractor for the program, but I'm not aware that decisions have been made yet.

Q: What are this building's concerns over the Chinese (inaudible) merchant ship?

A: Well, I can't comment, obviously, on specific intelligence matters. The story pointed out, after the first paragraph, that this seemed to be bearing anti-tank missiles, and we know that China has had a long supply relationship with Pakistan, supplying anti-tank missiles. We don't regard that as a dangerous act of proliferation. These are designed to help Pakistan protect its own forces against tank attack. In fact, in the past, the United States has sold anti-tank missiles to Pakistan as well.

Press: Thank you.

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