- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 31, 2000


Kenneth Timmerman credits President Bill Clinton and William Perry, his second secretary of defense, with taking a decaying Cold War military machine and turning it into a first-rate, post-industrial military superpower. Unfortunately, the country in question is not the United States. In his book, "Selling Out America: The American Spectator Investigations," Mr. Timmerman accuses Mr. Clinton and Mr. Perry of turning Communist China into a formidable post-Cold War adversary through a combination of neglect of American national security interests that, if not treasonous, borders on gross governmental negligence
Mr. Timmerman is a former Time magazine reporter who alleges that he was fired for his revelations concerning the Clinton administration's misdeeds. In doing so, he makes a compelling case. From the illegal upgrading of Chinese MiG fighters to the transfer of critical information about multiple re-entry warheads, Mr. Timmerman lays the responsibility for the selling out of America squarely at the feet of Mr. Clinton and his closest advisers. Worse still, Mr. Timmerman accuses the Clinton administration of allowing Chinese agents to have unprecedented access to classified material through a combination of cynical expediency and the worst possible disregard of time-tested security precautions.
The book is not so much a book as an anthology of articles that the author crafted for the American Spectator magazine in the mid- to late-'90s. It is tied together by a series of observations by the author that serve as transitions. Mr. Timmerman does not take the view that Mr. Clinton and company are fellow travelers. The author is no Joe McCarthy. Instead, he accuses Mr. Clinton and his cronies of a combination of narrow-minded fund-raising frenzy and strategic shortsightedness unprecedented in American political history.
Mr. Timmerman alleges that the Clinton administration allowed the export of highly advanced computer chips to China. The administration is also accused of wining and dining a top Chinese arms dealer in the White House and of waiving security clearance requirements to allow the infamous John Huang to receive a top government consulting job in the Commerce Department. The author further claims that the administration turned a blind eye to the importing of Chinese assault weapons into the United States for use by American gangs. Former Commerce Secretary Ron Brown was reportedly up to his eyebrows in Chinese dealings before his untimely death in a plane crash.
Mr. Timmerman claims that thousands of Chinese companies were set up in California. He further charges that the Democrats have cynically turned a blind eye to the potential danger to national security. The administration is also accused of undermining the Cox Commission investigation of wrongdoing and of running a classic cover-up with the collusion of reporters such as Walter Pincus, whose wife was a State Department political appointee, and Democratic Rep. David Bonior from Michigan. Also held blameworthy are national security adviser Sandy Berger and his point man on the alleged cover-up, a young man with the ironic name of Miles Lackey.
The misdeeds alleged in this book are at least as bad as the inflated charges the administration leveled against Wen Ho Lee and the charges that will likely be brought against former Central Intelligence Agency Director William Deutch. Mr. Deutch is accused of criminal stupidity, not of deliberately jeopardizing the national security of the United States, as did Mr. Clinton in Mr. Timmerman's view.
In the case of Mr. Perry, the motivation appears to have been a misguided sense of policy objectives. He obviously hoped that appeasement, i.e. increasing economic incentives, would work with the Chinese. To his credit, Mr. Perry realized the error of his ways, but not before the Chinese had used their misbegotten technological gains to fire a warning shot over Taiwan's bow in the form of two advanced missiles.
Perhaps as disturbing as the evil done to national security is what happened to Mr. Timmerman himself when he crossed the Clinton administration. Aside from being fired from Time magazine, he has been repeatedly audited by the Internal Revenue Service.
The book does have heroes. The Washington Times and the American Spectator doggedly pursued the story while other Washington and national media outlets passed. Rep. Curt Weldon, Republican from Pennsylvania, and Rep. Christopher Cox, Republican from California, persistently sought the truth, but Mr. Timmerman points out those honest and honorable men and institutions stand little chance against the incredible cynicism and professional opportunism of the Clinton-China connection.
This is a book that bears reading. There may be another side to this story, but Mr. Timmerman makes a compelling case that some members of the Clinton administration have hurt America and strengthened China for the sake of some very dubious motives. The extent of the real damage may take years to assess.

Gary Anderson is a retired Marine Corps officer. He is writing a book, "The Andromeda Effect," on civil-military relations.

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