- The Washington Times - Monday, November 6, 2000

It is now becoming fashionable to discuss the potential Clinton-Gore administration legacy, we will leave that for historians and pundits. However, Vice President Al Gore already has a foreign policy legacy and it isn't good. A serious and credible charge has been leveled at the vice president.

Essentially, Vice President Gore entered into a secret deal with Russia leaders to circumvent a law written by Sen. Gore. The result deadly weapons sold to Iran by Russia. The record shows the Congress and the American people were kept in the dark. Al Gore's legacy is that a law named the "Gore-McCain Act" was not enforced to stop such deadly foolishness. But the legacy continues and does not stop at this revelation.

Like the dying leaves of autumn, political charges and revelations of wrongdoing late in a campaign are often noted and then raked away and forgotten. Unfortunately Mr. Gore's failure of leadership in foreign policy will transcend the 2000 election and haunt America and especially our military forces for decades. It will not be forgotten as a groundless political attack because the weapons were sold and the danger to U.S. forces for decades to come is great.

Remember Al Gore takes full credit for U.S.-Russian bilateral relationships. The wreckage to our security is almost incalculable because in addition to Russia selling arms to Iran, Russia also sells state-of-the art weapon systems to China, including high speed anti-ship missiles that can be armed with nuclear warheads.

The stewardship of Mr. Gore under the provisions of the Gore-McCain Act, requires him to be a voice in defense of his own legislation. Both Russia and the People's Republic of China (PRC) must be sanctioned if they provide advanced conventional weapons to Iran and Iraq. Therefore, not only were Russian military sales to Iran expected to trigger sanctions, but PRC arms sales to Iran also were subject to legal sanctions especially the PRC C-801 and C-802 cruise missile deal. Yet nothing happened, and thus raises the question was there also a secret understanding with China and how did the U.S. get in this mess?

During the Clinton-Gore administration, the United States has been penetrated by the Chinese intelligence and military services at the highest levels, and the Russian leadership would have known of this from its own spying in Washington. As press reports have revealed, the Russians were able to place an electronic eavesdropping device (a "bug") inside the State Department itself. Further, highly classified documents were taken off a desk in the secretary of state's outer office, and the spy has never been found.

It has also been verified that hundreds of thousands of dollars in illegal campaign contributions for the 1996 Clinton-Gore re-election effort came in from Chinese military intelligence. PLA spy Lt. Col. Liu Chaoying oversaw this operation (DNC Chairman Don Fowler even joked about her rank); she was also a major arms dealer for China National Precision Machinery Import-Export Co., the manufacturer of C-801 and C-802 cruise missiles.

Poly Group brokered the missile deal with Iran, and Poly's Chairman Wang Jun appeared at a White House coffee fund-raiser in February 1996. For some reason, the United States never objected to Russian arms sales to Communist China and subsequent PRC arms sales to Iran. This would have been Al Gore's job, and he didn't do it

This all happened at the same time the U.S. Navy was beginning to acknowledge to the authors that the C-801 and C-802 cruise missiles in Iranian hands posed a significant 360-degree (land, sea, air) threat to U.S. forces in the Persian Gulf. The great danger to America and our Middle East allies is that there is almost always a "second bounce" out of the PRC. Not only does China's acquisition of modern weapons from Russia improve the People's Liberation Army, but Chinese arms merchants sell these advanced weapons to nations like Iran and Iraq sworn enemies of the U.S. and Israel.

Then Sen. Al Gore, Tennessee Democrat, along with Sen. John McCain, Arizona Republican, crafted the law that would allow the United States to sanction a country that sold advanced conventional weapons, including cruise missiles, to Iran or Iraq. In the case of cruise missiles to Iran, there is no question PRC missiles have been shipped to Iran or that they pose a direct threat to the 15,000 American troops serving in the Persian Gulf region. The U.S. did nothing. This is Al Gore's legacy.

As the election comes and passes into history, hopefully with Gov. Bush to be our next president, the legacy of Al Gore will have elements of a great tragedy. As Shakespeare wrote, "The evil that men do lives after them; the good is oft interred with their bones." Al Gore is not evil; he just lost his way and should not be our next president.

Edward T. Timperlake and William C. Triplett II are the co-authors of "Red Dragon Rising," Regnery, 1999.

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