Secret GOP struggle
Pentagon officials were puzzled by the presence of a well-known
Chinese military intelligence officer at the Republican National
Convention in Philadelphia last week.
People's Liberation Army Maj. Gen. Chen Kaizeng, a former defense
attaché in Washington, was working the convention as part of a
delegation of Chinese officials who attended and met top defense and
foreign policy advisers of Republican presidential candidate George W.
The presence of the Chinese general raised eyebrows among a number of
Republican insiders. Gen. Chen, demonstrating his collection skills,
managed to get hold of the draft China plank of the GOP platform written
mostly by Robert Blackwill, a former arms control official and friend of
Condoleezza Rice, Mr. Bush's chief adviser on national security.
The Blackwill version prompted what we are told was a small but
secret "struggle'' inside the Republican platform committee against
efforts to soften language on China. The early draft excluded the word
"strategic'' in describing China as a competitor, and also left out
important references to arms sales to Taiwan, a U.S. defense of Taiwan
and China's "stifling'' of religious freedom.
TRENDING: Biden's softballs
The final platform document was rescued by several congressional
staffers and former Rep. Bob Livingston, Louisiana Republican, who said
the squishy language did not represent Republican views.
The final document reflected recent speeches by Mr. Bush. It called
China a strategic competitor -- not a partner -- and urged "timely''
U.S. arms sales to Taiwan, a dig at the Clinton administration's
near-moratorium on weapons sales.
It also called for defending Taiwan if it is attacked by the
mainland: "We deny the right of Beijing to impose its rule on the free
The Chinese government officially protested the tougher language. A
Foreign Ministry spokesman expressed "concern and regret'' of the
platform criticism of China.
Conservative Republicans were left wondering how Mr. Blackwill had
so much clout over the platform writing process. He is close to the PLA
as director of the China Initiative program at Harvard that has brought
some 50 Chinese military officers to the United States. Critics have
called it "spy training'' for the Chinese military in Boston.
The program is funded by a mysterious Hong Kong patron, Nina Kung,
who supplied $7 million for the exchanges that also include a separate
program for visits to Harvard by civilian Chinese officials.
All the PLA colonels are hand picked for their visits by Gen. Xiong
Guangkai, China's military intelligence chief who suggested in 1995 that
China would use nuclear weapons against Los Angeles if the United States
dared to defend Taiwan from Chinese attack.
Mr. Blackwill declined to comment for the record on the platform
Pentagon fraud charged
Peter Leitner, a senior strategic trade adviser within the
Pentagon's Defense Threat Reduction Agency, DTRA, is charging the agency
with "waste, fraud and abuse.'' In a memorandum, he asserted the Clinton
administration is guilty of "the reckless export decontrol of much of
our advanced military and military-related manufacturing and operational
The three-page memorandum to the Pentagon inspector general, Mr.
Leitner, a critic of Clinton administration export policies, charged
DTRA with padding its personnel rolls "to create the false appearance
that U.S. national security is being protected in response to a series
of critical congressional and IG hearing and inspections.'' He called
the effort "a Potemkin village.''
The staffing issue also is an attempt by "anti-export control forces
within the Pentagon'' to further isolate and weaken the Pentagon group
in charge of monitoring exports of strategic goods -- those that can be
used for foreign nations for weapons development, especially to nations
that might use those weapons against the United States.
Mr. Leitner also stated that the DTRA has an inherent conflict of
interest with the export control branch within it known as the Defense
Technology Security Administration. DTRA currently is seeking to carry
out "a series of ill-advised exports ... to Russian nuclear end-users''
that the export control branch is questioning.
"In addition,'' he writes, "several DOD officials are trying to
undermine the State Department-managed arms transfer regulations by
having dangerous nuclear-weapons related technologies transferred to
Commerce Department jurisdiction where its export to even the most
dangerous foreign end users, particularly China, is all but assured.''
Mr. Leitner asked the IG to investigate the issues and warned, "The
last few months of the current administration will likely see additional
attempts by current officials to curry favor with potential future
employers at the expense of national security -- the one chip they have
A spokeswoman for the Defense Threat Reduction Agency said the agency
has no knowledge of an inspector general probe, a sign the IG may have
ignored Mr. Leitner's appeal.
Stewart & Stevenson Services Inc. wants U.S. permission to start
selling its military trucks overseas. But the State Department has laid
down some strict guidelines to ensure weaponized versions don't fall
into the wrong foreign hands.
The Texas company has provided about 11,000 trucks to the U.S. Army,
primarily to carry troops and supplies. But the family of Medium
Tactical Vehicles can also serve as a weapons platform.
A State Department letter we obtained states that any truck modified
to carry weapons would make the U.S. Munitions List and must win
approval from a host of agencies, including the Pentagon.
"We have no sales lined up at this point,'' said company spokesman
Paul Justice. "We have some possibilities.'' He said Communist China is
not among them.
Clark, the civilian
Friends of retired Army Gen. Wesley Clark say, three months after
the Clinton administration unceremoniously ended his career, the general
still doesn't know exactly who orchestrated his early departure.
But Gen. Clark -- first in his West Point class and the head of two
four-star command billets, isn't living in the past. He has charged into
civilian life on many fronts.
He holds a chair at the Center for Strategic and International
Studies; is making paid speeches; lectures at the National Defense
University; is on retainer to Stephens Inc., an investment banking firm;
and does pro bono work as well, educating groups on international
As if his plate's not full enough, the energetic field commander is
also writing a book. He declined comment when we asked if his memoirs
will touch on the Pentagon officials who waged war on Gen. Clark himself
as he led NATO's bombing campaign against Serbia.
"I loved being in the military,'' the 55-year-old Gen. Clark says.
"It was enormously satisfying to participate in the rebirth of the
after Vietnam and then serve in Washington and participate in high
policy formulation and execution.''
Of his NATO stewardship, he says, "NATO commander was just a
experience, an incredible experience. And we won.''
After a year in Washington, Gen. Clark plans to return to his native
Arkansas in a full-time job with Stephens, exploring high-tech
"I went to West Point because I believe in duty, honor and country
before I went there,'' he says. "I was given an opportunity and I'm
incredibly grateful for it.''
Despite his detractors within the administration, Gen. Clark went to
the White House on Wednesday to receive the Presidential Medal of
Freedom, the nation's highest civilian award.