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Exactly whose interests are being protected by the long delays in the
release of the Cox report on national security breaches involved in
China’s theft and purchase of U.S. nuclear, computer, telecommunications
and other technological secrets?

Once again, we’re hearing that the report of the select congressional
committee established to investigate the scandal, headed by Rep. Chris
Cox, R-Calif., is due out this week. Similar signals have been given for
months. It should be clear now that more time and attention have been
devoted to keeping the details of this report from the American people
than were devoted to conducting the investigation itself.

Ask yourself why. Who is being protected? What principle is being
guarded?

Many details have already been leaked. The report concludes that U.S.
national security has been damaged by China’s theft and acquisition of
nuclear warhead secrets, satellite and missile technology,
supercomputers, telecommunications equipment, jet engines and
sophisticated machine tools.

In other words, the Chinese have gotten just about everything they
want from the U.S. through incompetence, greed, malfeasance,
shortsightedness and, probably, high treason.

There was a time in America — some would argue a more enlightened
time — in which people were shot for such offenses. So far, the
bi-partisan back-scratching on Capitol Hill has avoided any serious
discussion of accountability by the high officials responsible.

A tip-off as to how lame this report will be is the fact that the
Clinton administration has already agreed to implement nearly all of the
38 recommendations regarding issues such as export controls and
increased security at nuclear labs.

So why all the secrecy? If our nuclear secrets were guarded half as
carefully as the contents of the Cox committee report, there would have
been no need for the investigation in the first place. If the American
people were protected from incoming nuclear missiles half as thoroughly
as they have been protected from whatever truth there is in the Cox
committee report, there would have been no need for an investigation.

It’s time to lay the report on the table. It’s time to stop all the
leaks. It’s time to let the facts speak for themselves — to end the
drip, drip, drip and open the floodgates of truth.

I suspect when the report is released, it will not add a great deal
to our understanding of this scandal. As we have reported here before,
the Cox committee conducted a 9-to-5 kind of probe. Key witnesses were
ignored. Only smoking guns (or is it silos?) were pursued.

I’ve known Chris Cox for years — following his career with some
admiration. I thought the House Republicans made a mistake — twice –
when they overlooked him for the role of speaker. Yet, he has been
complicit in the cover-up of the China scandal now for more than a year.

We’ve seen this strategy employed before: Conduct a half-baked
investigation not really designed to expose all the corruption, withhold
the details for as long as you can adding an air of mystery and
excitement to the release of the report, leak key portions of the report
allowing as many shocking details to trickle out so the American people
are immunized to the breadth of the crime. It happened with the Robert
Fiske report into the death of Vincent Foster. We saw it again with
Kenneth Starr’s various and sundry probes. It was raised to the level of
an art form throughout the Clinton administration as Congress, the
Justice Department and other government entities went through the
motions of investigating the most scandal-plagued regime in American
history.

The Cox report utilized a staff of 45 and cost $2 million to prepare.
I don’t know what it will come up with after that investment. I doubt it
will be much of anything. But I’ll tell you what: Give me, or any other
truly independent, experienced investigator, 45 people, $2 million and a
year to look into Chinagate and the results would likely set off a
revolution in this country.

Maybe that’s why they handled it this way.

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