A highly classified intelligence report produced for the new director of national intelligence concludes that U.S. spy agencies failed to recognize several key military developments in China in the past decade, The Washington Times has learned.
The report was created by several current and former intelligence officials and concludes that U.S. agencies missed more than a dozen Chinese military developments, according to officials familiar with the report.
The report blames excessive secrecy on China’s part for the failures, but critics say intelligence specialists are to blame for playing down or dismissing evidence of growing Chinese military capabilities.
The report comes as the Bush administration appears to have become more critical of China’s military buildup.
Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said in Singapore over the weekend that China has hidden its defense spending and is expanding its missile forces despite facing no threats. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice also expressed worries this week about China’s expanding military capabilities.
Among the failures highlighted in the study are:
China’s development of a new long-range cruise missile.
The deployment of a new warship equipped with a stolen Chinese version of the U.S. Aegis battle management technology.
Deployment of a new attack submarine known as the Yuan class that was missed by U.S. intelligence until photos of the submarine appeared on the Internet.
Development of precision-guided munitions, including new air-to-ground missiles and new, more accurate warheads.
China’s development of surface-to-surface missiles for targeting U.S. aircraft carrier battle groups.
The importation of advanced weaponry, including Russian submarines, warships and fighter-bombers.
According to officials familiar with the intelligence report, the word “surprise” is used more than a dozen times to describe U.S. failures to anticipate or discover Chinese arms development.
Many of the missed military developments will be contained in the Pentagon’s annual report to Congress on the Chinese military, which was due out March 1 but delayed by interagency disputes over its contents.
Critics of the study say the report unfairly blames intelligence collectors for not gathering solid information on the Chinese military and for failing to plant agents in the communist government.