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Two powerful House Chairmen are firing hard questions at the Clinton
administration concerning reports that were recently published in
WorldNetDaily. The reports included U.S. Air Force briefing papers that
showed Chinese army air force officers toured Edwards Air Force base in May
On Nov. 15, Chairman of the Science Subcommittee on Space and
Aeronautics, Dana Rohrabacher, R-Calif., and Chairman of the House Committee
on Government Reform, Dan Burton, R-Ill., joined to write a blistering
letter to Secretary of Defense William Cohen.
“After reviewing the briefing papers distributed to the Chinese
delegation,” states the letter to Secretary Cohen, “we are now concerned
that under the guise of ‘air traffic control,’ the U.S. military gave
instructions on how our military fighter commands utilize civilian air
traffic control for tasks such as ‘low level bombing, inflight refueling,’
and the coordination of AWACS (airborne radar planes) in combat refueling
“It appears that these briefings not only advised the Chinese on how we
conduct fighter-bomber operations areas (MOAs), but this will enable them to
better develop defenses against our Air Force and Navy aviation operations,”
wrote Burton and Rohrabacher.
“We are concerned that previous elements of the exchange program that
were described as unrelated none-the-less boosted the Chinese military’s
offensive capabilities,” states the letter to Secretary Cohen.
“For example, the May 9 to 20, 1999, visit by a Chinese air traffic
control delegation included visits to sensitive U.S. Air Force
installations, including the Air Force Flight Test Center at Edwards Air
Force Base and briefings on the Combat Readiness Air Traffic Control course
at Luke Air Force Base in New Mexico.”
The two Chairmen sent five specific questions about the People’s
Liberation Army Air Force visits for Secretary Cohen to answer:
- Was the delegation briefed or did they participate in any air tasking
order (ATO) exercises?
- Did any members of the Chinese delegation ride in U.S. combat aircraft
or AWACS or refueling tankers?
- Was the delegation shown U.S. operational methods in coordination
between tankers, AWACS and fighters?
- Why was the delegation briefed on tactical military air traffic control,
which is used in U.S. war fighting?
- Why were they briefed on TACAN systems on remote deployed battlefields?
- Why was the Chinese delegation shown the mobile microwave landing
system, with its essential elements of information?
The two chairmen also requested that Secretary Cohen produce a known
witness to the Chinese military tour of Edwards Air Force Base.
“We request a verbal in-depth briefing on the Chinese delegation’s
program from Lt. Colonel Jim Robilotta, Director, International Civil
Aviation Policy, DOD Policy Board on Federal Aviation,” states the letter to
Cohen. “Lt. Col. Robilotta accompanied the Chinese delegation throughout
their May visit.”
The two Chairmen have given the administration until Jan. 15 of next year
to respond. One Capitol Hill staff member noted that hearings would follow
if the questions remained unanswered.
The documents that started the firestorm of questions where obtained
using the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) from the Clinton administration.
The documents provided to WorldNetDaily show that Chinese officers have been
given grand tours of sensitive American military facilities and were briefed
on “Combat Readiness.”
According to the documents, on May 18, 1999, Sr. Col. Li Zhongli, Sr.
Col. Wang Changzheng, and Maj. Wang Shouxing gained entry to Edwards Air
Force Base. The Chinese officers also were given access to Tinker Air Force
Base in Oklahoma and the United Airlines civil air facilities at Denver,
Colo., on a trip sponsored by MITRE Corp., Raytheon, and Lockheed Martin.
According to Clinton administration documents, on May 14, 1999, USAF Lt.
Col. Jim Robilotta accompanied the Chinese officers to Tinker AFB, arriving
for lunch with USAF Lt. Col. Dorilynn Gimondo in the “Daedalian Room”.
After lunch, the PLAAF (People’s Liberation Army Air Force) and PLAN
(People’s Liberation Army Navy) officers were given a briefing from
“Capt.(Tom) Schmidt, Commander, Airfield Operations, 72 Operational Support
Squadron.” Capt. Schmidt told the PLAAF how the U.S. Air Force deals with
“integration” of “Civil & Military Airspace.”
After Capt. Schmidt’s briefing, “CMS Sgt (Len) Dorton” then briefed the
Chinese delegation on “DOD Testing & Development of Software System for
Integration & Interoperability.”
The Chinese officers then toured the Tinker AFB control tower, and
finished with a 15-minute rest at the “Tinker AFB Officer’s Club (Via Mil
Bus)” escorted by Ms. Nancy Lemieux.
On May 18, Clinton officials gave the Chinese military a guided tour of
the Edwards U.S. Air Force base. The tour including radar data, tracking
systems and details on USAF military operations. USAF Lt. Col. Bill Frank
and Lt. Col. Jim Robilotta accompanied the Chinese on the tour of Edwards,
which was sponsored by Lockheed Martin.
The handwritten notes of an unidentified FAA official shows the Chinese
military officers were briefed by Bill Shelton from the Defense Department
and Brent Shively and Phil Strange from the FAA.
According to the handwritten notes, the Chinese were given detailed
information on military operations at Edwards AFB. According to the USAF
document, “mil uses airspace from 200 to 60,000 feet” and “radars 7 short
range 3 long range provide coverage in complex. Lower alt short range at
bottoms end – gap fillers look + down valleys where mil likely to fly.”
Further notes taken by FAA officials give details on special operations
conducted at Edwards, including commercial and NASA research use.
“Companies ‘rent a runway’ — ie Boeing practices dangerous maneuver,”
states the handwritten notes on the USAF documents. “2 Ladkebeds used by
NASA. For 29,000+ DOD asks for clearance from TRACON — FAA clears out
aircraft — after pilot thru w/mission above 29K ft — returns. 60 mile
corridor chords row planes practice straight on ‘chicken’ flying.”
Armed with this detailed information, Rohrabacher and Burton are clearly
not engaged in a “chicken” contest with the White House, nor are they on a
fishing expedition. They are convinced that “Combat Readiness” cannot be
considered part of normal commercial airlines operations. Congress is in hot
pursuit of the Clinton/Gore military alliance with the Chinese army.