Administration Sold to China Systems Used by Iraq
The Clinton administration authorized
the transfer of a fiber-optic air defense system to China – the same one
the Pentagon claimed helped thwart U.S. air attacks against Iraq.
When U.S. warplanes struck new Iraqi
air defense sites around Baghdad, Pentagon officials were mum in naming
the country that sold the new air defense missile system to Saddam Hussein.
The Washington Post revealed that
China was assisting Iraqi air defense, an allegation promptly denied by
Iraq. According to the Post article, Chinese engineers were helping Iraq
to install a network of fiber-optic communications and computers designed
to track and destroy U.S. warplanes. (The export also violates U.N. weapons
embargoes against Saddam.)
President Bush's national security
adviser confirmed last Thursday that Chinese engineers were indeed helping
The real story behind Iraq's high-tech
buildup remains untold until now.
The Chinese fiber-optic air defense
system in the Iraqi desert is in fact of U.S. origin. In 1994, Chinese
spymaster Gen. Ding Henggao obtained the advanced fiber-optic system through
his contacts inside the Clinton administration.
According to documents obtained using
the Freedom of Information Act, in 1994 Ding was a close friend of Clinton
Secretary of Defense William Perry.
Perry and Ding's relationship spans
three administrations. Perry reportedly met Ding in the late 1970s during
the Carter administration.
By 1994, Ding had risen to command
the Chinese Army military research bureau "COSTIND," or the Commission
on Science Technology and Industry for National Defense.
COSTIND, according to the General
Accounting Office, "oversees development of China's weapon systems and
is responsible for identifying and acquiring telecommunications technology
applicable for military use."
In 1994, the personal consultant
to Perry teamed with Ding to buy an advanced AT&T fiber-optic communications
system for "civilian" use inside China.
The communications system slipped
past U.S. exports laws as a joint U.S.-Chinese commercial venture called
"Hua Mei." The Chinese part of the venture was run by a newly formed firm
named "Galaxy New Technology."
Stanford professor John Lewis, a
close friend and the paid personal consultant for Perry, was the key board
member of the project.
According to the Far Eastern Economic
Review, Lewis had his friend Perry write a letter on his behalf to U.S.
government officials, favoring the fiber-optic export to China.
Lewis located Adlai Stevenson III,
the former Democratic senator from Illinois, to lead the American side
of the joint venture. Gen. Ding's wife, Madam Nie Li, headed the joint
project as the Chinese co-chairman. Lewis contracted AT&T to ship the
secure communication system directly to a Chinese army unit using Galaxy
New Technology as a front.
The documents show that Lewis not
only worked for Stanford University and the Chinese army at the same time,
but that he also worked for the U.S. Defense Department.
In August 1994, Lewis and Secretary
of Defense Perry traveled to Beijing to meet with Ding. According to the
official list of attendees, Lewis accompanied Perry as his paid "personal"
Chinese Firm Backed by Military
AT&T officials who sold most
of the equipment and software were adamant that there was no need to check
the Chinese firm because the "civilian" Madam Nie Lie led it.
Yet, the so-called civilian firm
was actually packed with Chinese army officers and experts. Madam Nie Lie
was not only the wife of Gen. Ding Henggao; Madam Nie was actually Lt.
Gen. Nie Lie of the Chinese army.
Another member of New Galaxy Technology,
according to a Defense Department document, was Director and President
"Mr. Deng Changru." Deng is also known as Lt. Col. Deng Changru of the
People's Liberation Army, head of the Chinese communications corps.
Still another Chinese army officer
on the Galaxy New Technology staff was co-General Manager "Mr. Xie Zhichao,"
better known in military circles as Lt. Col. Xie Zhichao, director of the
Chinese army's Electronics Design Bureau.
In 1997, Rep. Henry Hyde pressed
unsuccessfully for the Department of Justice to investigate the Galaxy
New Technology scandal in a letter outlining his concerns.
According to Hyde, "in 1994, sophisticated
telecommunications technology was transferred to a U.S.-Chinese joint venture
called HUA MEI, in which the Chinese partner is an entity controlled by
the Chinese military. This particular transfer included fiber-optic communications
equipment, which is used for high-speed, secure communications over long
distances. Also included in the package was advanced encryption software."
In 1994, the Chinese spymaster Gen.
Ding personally penetrated the U.S. Defense Department at the highest levels,
using his contacts with Secretary Perry to obtain a secure fiber-optic
There was more than profit for Ding
and his Chinese army company packed with electronics experts.
The Chinese army's Electronics Design
Bureau modified the American fiber-optic communication system, changing
it into a secure air-defense system. The Chinese army then exported the
newly modified system to Iraq.
The Iraqi air defense network, NATO
code-named "Tiger Song," is made of U.S. and French fiber-optic parts modified
by the People's Liberation Army.
Iraqi missiles guided by Tiger Song
regularly attack U.S. fighter jets. U.S. jets have recently retaliated,
striking back with bombs and missiles.
Chinese military engineers from 2nd
and 4th Signals Corps of the Chinese Army Headquarters are even now repairing
the damaged Iraqi air defense system.
The cat-and-mouse game of missile
and electronic combat with Saddam is expected to continue for years as
the Chinese army engineers improve the deadly Tiger Song network.
In 1998, Gen. Ding retired from active
service in the Chinese army.
However, he was decorated by President
Jiang Zemin as a hero of the Chinese communist party for his successful
operations against America.
Ding's attack on America ranks as
one of the most successful espionage operations of the 20th century.
Tiger Song, the Chinese fiber-optic
air defense system in the Iraqi desert, is a legacy of the Clinton years
that will now need to be revisited regularly by U.S. bombers in the 21st