- The Washington Times - Friday, December 24, 1999

Taiwan HARM

The government of Taiwan secretly asked the Clinton administration last month to sell it High-speed Anti-Radiation Missiles, or HARMs, as part of its annual request for defensive arms, we are told.
Disclosure of the request for the air-launched missiles, which home in on radar beacons used to track aircraft, comes amid disclosure in this newspaper on Wednesday that China is building a new air-defense missile site near Taiwan.
A fight is under way inside the administration over the request for HARMs, which have been star weapons used in the Balkans and Iraq in recent months to knock out anti-aircraft batteries.
Pro-Beijing officials at the State Department are opposing U.S. sales of HARMs, arguing the missiles could be used to knock out the surface-to-air missile sites like the one being built at Zhangzhou on China's coast, thus would be considered offensive weapons because the site is on the mainland.
Pentagon officials in favor of the sale deem them necessary to maintain a balance of forces. They point out that the HARMs are defensive missiles allowed under the Taiwan Relations Act governing U.S. arms sales to the island. Officials told us the HARMs would be very effective against China's two new Sovremenny-class guided-missile destroyers, which come equipped with ample radar for HARMs to attack and are not on the mainland.
Russia will turn over the first new destroyer to China Saturday in St. Petersburg. The ship is the first of two equipped with supersonic SS-N-22 cruise missiles to be based in Shanghai, conveniently close to Taiwan.

China rebuttal

Some members of the special Cox committee on Chinese spying are irate at the bashing they took in a report by a Stanford University think tank.
The report, which received prominent play in liberal news outlets who take a benign view of Chinese global aims, castigated the bipartisan Cox team for purportedly jumping to wild conclusions. The Cox panel, named after Rep. Christopher Cox, the chairman and California Republican, concluded that Chinese spies stole design information for the most advanced thermonuclear weapons in the U.S. arsenal. The report was based on the most secret information in the U.S. intelligence community.
Now, an ally of Mr. Cox's has drafted a rebuttal to the Stanford critics. We obtained a copy of "50 Factual Errors in the Four [Stanford] Essays." The counterattack was authored by Nicholas Rostow, staff director for the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence who worked for the Cox panel.
Pulling no punches, Mr. Rostow begins: "The publisher of the essays, Stanford's Center for International Security and Cooperation, is the direct successor of the Center for International Security and Arms Control, an organization whose conclusions on Soviet intentions and compliance with arms-control treaties were notoriously wrong."
Mr. Rostow then proceeds to uncover what he termed 50 "factual errors disclosed in a cursory review of the four essays."
Some examples:
c "According to [one Stanford essay], the committee report 'maintains that PRC penetration of U.S. labs commenced in the late 1970s.' No such statement is made in the report."
c "[One essay] refers to the W-88 thermonuclear warhead as 'old' technology. It is, in fact, the most modern nuclear weapon in the U.S. arsenal, and until it was compromised, no other nation in the world possessed such a weapon… . Since the W-88 is America's most modern nuclear weapon, [the essay's] description of it as 'old' trivializes a very important national security loss."
c One essay "states that 'no evidence is given in any of the reports that the design of the [new, smaller PRC nuclear warhead] was derived from U.S. information.' That the specific evidence is not given merely reflects the fact that it is classified. The conclusion has been stated, not only in the committee report but also in the public versions of the two intelligence community reports on this subject to Congress during 1999."

Keep watching the sky

The North American Aerospace Defense Command, known as NORAD, will use its formidable satellite and ground radar tracking systems for the 44th year in a row to monitor the transit of a sleigh and nine not eight tiny reindeer from the North Pole Friday.
Santa Claus' journey will be picked up first by Defense Support Satellites those that would spot a Chinese or Russian intercontinental ballistic missile launch, says a smiling NORAD spokesman, Master Sgt. Larry Lincoln.
"We can pick up the heat from Rudolph's nose," Sgt. Lincoln said of the ninth reindeer pulling Santa's present-filled sleigh.
The monitoring is intended to "keep the magic alive for children around the world," he said.
About 100 Air Force and other volunteers will staff phone lines inside NORAD's Cheyenne Mountain complex in Colorado Springs for children to call in their Christmas wishes or get an update on Santa's travel. A World Wide Web site will provide animation showing Santa's annual Christmas Eve journey. (719/474-3980 and www.noradsanta.org.)
Last year 80 million people visited the Web site and about 20,000 people called to find out the latest Santa update.

Bill Gertz can be reached at 202/636-3274 or by e-mail at gertz@twtmail.com. Rowan Scarborough can be reached at 202/636-3208 or by e-mail at scarbo@twtmail.com.

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