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Chinese intelligence agents are continuing to spy on the United
States, both here and abroad. According to a recent Pentagon
intelligence report, China has obtained secret U.S. military manuals on
submarine acoustic capabilities — the noise made by the stealthy
underwater vessels. The submarine secrets are among the most closely
held because they can give the Chinese, with a new attack submarine on
the drawing board, the data needed to hunt down and kill U.S. submarines
in wartime, we are told. China is in the process of building a new
generation of attack submarine, along with a new class of ballistic
missile submarine. The Type 093 attack submarine currently is under
construction.

Pentagon intelligence officials said the Chinese obtained the U.S.
submarine data from sources in the United States and from spies inside
the NATO alliance.

Tip-off

The United States failed to detect plans for India’s sudden spate of
underground nuclear tests last year because it inadvertently revealed
satellite flyover schedules, according to an intelligence source.

Underground nuclear tests normally have a good chance of being
spotted by overhead photography. Activity picks up at the site as trucks
bring in equipment to insert the warhead down a subterranean shaft.

In fact, the intelligence source said, sometime before the five
blasts in May 1998, the United States did detect unusual activity at the
Pokhran site and presented New Delhi with a demarche demanding the test
be halted.

When India denied such preparations, the U.S. ambassador to India at
the time, Frank Wisner, presented them with satellite photos as proof.

Intelligence officials now believe India was able to estimate the
times that satellites pass over the site by matching the series of
pictures with the times and dates.

When they believed the spies-in-the-sky were not around, they
hurriedly set up the five tests — much to the surprise of U.S.
intelligence agencies.

“We gave away national technical means in the process, apparently,
and next time the Indians were a little smarter,” the intelligence
source said.

Mr. Wisner, in a speech last year, defended the disclosure of
intelligence photographs to the Indians as an effort to deter the test
and said he does not believe the Indians were able to learn satellite
monitoring techniques from them.

Vieques counterattack

President Clinton’s decision last week to block the carrier USS
Dwight D. Eisenhower battle group from training on Vieques Island has
prompted Republicans to consider playing hardball with Puerto Rico.

Puerto Rico Gov. Pedro Rosello, a political ally of Vice President Al
Gore, adamantly refused to approve even limited naval exercises. Instead
of overriding the opposition, Mr. Clinton caved. Military sources said
he feared the spectacle of U.S. marshals forcibly removing squatter
protesters on Vieques and its effects on U.S. Hispanic voters.

Republican congressional staffers view Mr. Clinton’s action as
Vieques’ death knell. Although more talks will be attempted with Puerto
Rican officials, the sources see little chance the U.S. territory will
allow the next scheduled battle group to train there in 2000.

The intransigence has staffers plotting a counterattack.

One option is a Senate floor vote on a bill from Sen. James M.
Inhofe, R-Okla., that would order the Pentagon to close Roosevelt Roads
naval station and other bases on Puerto Rico.

“We close down Puerto Rico,” said a congressional staffer. “We think
the Inhofe bill will be voted on. Basically what we have whispered in
the Pentagon’s ear is they’re not going to listen until we do
something.”

Roosevelt Roads’ primary function is to support operations on
Vieques.

A second option is to withhold Puerto Rico’s yearly defense research
and development grants, a program for states that lack large research
institutions.

“You could do some things if you’re willing to send some signals,”
the staffer said. “But this administration isn’t willing to do so.”

The Navy says Vieques’ ability to accommodate integrated land, air
and sea exercises provides each battle group with unmatched realistic
training before deploying to the Mediterranean and Persian Gulf. The
Eisenhower’s air wing will thus be in a less combat-ready state, the
service says.

Part-time warriors

Internal Army documents show that the active Army isn’t the only
ground-force component having trouble finding recruits.

The active force missed its recruiting goal by nearly 6,300 last
fiscal year and is projecting another shortfall this year.

Documents show the Army Reserve is also hurting. It missed its
enlisted accessions by more than 10,000. It needed 52,084 soldiers, but
signed up 41,777.

The miss comes at the same time that Defense Secretary William S.
Cohen is weighing a new round of personnel cuts in the Army National
Guard and Reserve — cuts strongly opposed by a number of lawmakers.

Meanwhile, the National Guard fared better on recruiting, exceeding
its goal. Needed: 56,958. Got: 57,090.

There is more good news. After experiencing attrition rates of more
than 20 percent in the mid-1990s, the numbers are declining for soldiers
in their seventh to 36th month. After reaching nearly 23 percent in
1994, the dropout rate has dipped to 18 percent.

Iranian anti-stealth

Iran is shopping in Eastern Europe for Czech-made electronic warfare
systems known as Tamara, according to Pentagon officials. The systems
are supposed to be able to track U.S. radar-evading stealth aircraft –
the Pentagon’s most important weapons and the future of most U.S.
weapons systems, whether aircraft, missiles, ships or vehicles.

Officials tell us the Iranians have been working the illegal arms
market in Eastern Europe to find a supplier for the systems, which are
manufactured by the Czech Republic’s Tesla-Pardubice Co.

The CIA uncovered a similar effort by Iraq in 1997, when Bulgarian
arms dealers were working secretly with Iraqi weapons buyers to obtain
some of the systems for Iraq’s air defense network. White House
officials appealed directly to Prague’s highest officials to block the
attempted sale.

The Tamara is supposed to use unique passive sensing systems that can
pick up emissions from such aircraft as the F-117 fighter-bomber and the
B-2 bomber. Its range, however, is said to be very limited.

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