The timeline of the Cox Report controversy is a chronology of information relating to the People's Republic of China's (PRC) nuclear espionage against the United States detailed in the Congressional Cox Report . The timeline also includes documented information relating to relevant investigations and reactions by the White House, the U.S. Congress, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and United States Department of Justice.
Lehrer: The main hit on you, as you know, Mr. Berger, is that you were told (about China's nuclear espionage) in April of 1996 and you didn't tell the president about it until, what, a year or so later, even longer than that? Berger: I was told in 1996, Jim, of the... at a briefing, of the evolution of China's strategic program, in two cases, one went back to 1979. The one that went that went to... involved in the mid-80's. I found that very troubling. I asked DOE... I acted in response to what I heard. I asked DOE to widen and deepen its investigation, to intensify as they were planning their counterintelligence efforts to brief the Congress[.] [W]ithin several weeks the FBI had opened up a full investigation on the prime suspect. So I took the actions that I believe were appropriate. I get an awful lot of threat information every day. I have to make a judgment as to what I brief the president on and what I don't. In 1997, when this was clearly a pattern and a systemic problem, I thought it was essential for the president to know.
In December 1999, four Stanford University professors release a report rebutting the Cox Commission, noting "The language of the report, particularly its Overview, was inflammatory and some allegations did not seem to be well supported....Some important and relevant facts are wrong and a number of conclusions are, in our view, unwarranted."A number of other reports, including one from the National Academy of Sciences, reach similar conclusions.
Los Alamos National Laboratory is a United States Department of Energy national laboratory initially organized during World War II for the design of nuclear weapons as part of the Manhattan Project. It is a short distance northwest of Santa Fe, New Mexico, in the southwestern United States.
Theodore Alvin Hall was an American physicist and an atomic spy for the Soviet Union, who, during his work on US efforts to develop the first and second atomic bombs during World War II, gave a detailed description of the "Fat Man" plutonium bomb, and of several processes for purifying plutonium, to Soviet intelligence. His brother, Edward N. Hall, was a rocket scientist who worked on intercontinental ballistic missiles for the United States government.
Katrina Leung is a former high value Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) informant and Ministry of State Security (MSS) agent who, on April 9, 2003, was indicted by the United States Department of Justice for "Unauthorized copying of national defense information with intent to injure or benefit a foreign nation". Her case was later dismissed on January 6, 2005 because of prosecutorial misconduct, but an appeal by the U.S. Attorney resulted in a plea bargain of guilty to lesser charges on December 16, 2005. She was alleged by the United States government to have contaminated twenty years of intelligence relating to the People's Republic of China, as well as critically compromising the FBI's Chinese counterintelligence program.
Wen Ho Lee or Li Wenho is a Taiwanese-American scientist who worked for the University of California at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico. He created simulations of nuclear explosions for the purposes of scientific inquiry, as well as for improving the safety and reliability of the U.S. nuclear arsenal. A federal grand jury indicted him on charges of stealing secrets about the U.S. nuclear arsenal for the People's Republic of China (PRC) in December 1999.
Samuel Richard "Sandy" Berger was a political consultant who served as the 18th United States National Security Advisor for President Bill Clinton from 1997 to 2001. Before that he served as the Deputy National Security Advisor for the Clinton Administration from 1993 to 1997.
The Report of the Select Committee on U.S. National Security and Military/Commercial Concerns with the People's Republic of China, commonly known as the Cox Report after Representative Christopher Cox, is a classified U.S. government document reporting on the People's Republic of China's covert operations within the United States during the 1980s and 1990s. The redacted version of the report was released to the public on May 25, 1999.
Stockpile stewardship refers to the United States program of reliability testing and maintenance of its nuclear weapons without the use of nuclear testing.
The Niger uranium forgeries were forged documents initially released in 2001 by SISMI, which seem to depict an attempt made by Saddam Hussein in Iraq to purchase yellowcake uranium powder from Niger during the Iraq disarmament crisis. On the basis of these documents and other indicators, the governments of the United States and the United Kingdom asserted that Iraq violated United Nations sanctions against Iraq by attempting to procure nuclear material for the purpose of creating weapons of mass destruction.
The Ministry of State Security is the civilian intelligence, security and secret police agency of the People's Republic of China, responsible for counter-intelligence, foreign intelligence and political security. The MSS is active in industrial espionage and increasingly adept at cyber espionage. Its military counterpart is the Intelligence Bureau of the Joint Staff. Described as one of the most secretive intelligence organizations in the world, it is headquartered in Beijing with subordinate branches at the provincial, city, municipality and township levels throughout China.
The 1996 United States campaign finance controversy, or uncommonly referred to as Chinagate, was an alleged effort by the People's Republic of China to influence domestic American politics prior to and during the Clinton administration and also involved the fundraising practices of the administration itself.
The Commission on Protecting and Reducing Government Secrecy, also called the Moynihan Commission, after its chairman, U.S. Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, was a bipartisan statutory commission in the United States. It was created under Title IX of the Foreign Relations Authorization Act for Fiscal Years 1994 and 1995 to conduct "an investigation into all matters in any way related to any legislation, executive order, regulation, practice, or procedure relating to classified information or granting security clearances" and to submit a final report with recommendations. The Commission's investigation of government secrecy was the first authorized by statute since the Wright Commission on Government Security issued its report in 1957.
The W88 is an American thermonuclear warhead, with an estimated yield of 475 kilotonnes of TNT (1,990 TJ), and is small enough to fit on MIRVed missiles. The W88 was designed at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in the 1970s. In 1999, the director of Los Alamos who had presided over its design described it as "the most advanced U.S. nuclear warhead". As of 2021, the latest version is called the W88 ALT 370, the first unit of which came into production on 1 July, 2021, after 11 years of development. The Trident II submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) can be armed with up to eight W88 warheads or twelve 100 kt W76 warheads, but it is limited to eight warheads under the Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty.
Atomic spies or atom spies were people in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Canada who are known to have illicitly given information about nuclear weapons production or design to the Soviet Union during World War II and the early Cold War. Exactly what was given, and whether everyone on the list gave it, are still matters of some scholarly dispute. In some cases, some of the arrested suspects or government witnesses had given strong testimonies or confessions which they recanted later or said were fabricated. Their work constitutes the most publicly well-known and well-documented case of nuclear espionage in the history of nuclear weapons. At the same time, numerous nuclear scientists wanted to share the information with the world scientific community, but this proposal was firmly quashed by the United States government.
James Risen is an American journalist for The Intercept. He previously worked for The New York Times and before that for Los Angeles Times. He has written or co-written many articles concerning U.S. government activities and is the author or co-author of two books about the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and a book about the American public debate about abortion. Risen is a Pulitzer Prize winner.
Nuclear espionage is the purposeful giving of state secrets regarding nuclear weapons to other states without authorization (espionage). There have been many cases of known nuclear espionage throughout the history of nuclear weapons and many cases of suspected or alleged espionage. Because nuclear weapons are generally considered one of the most important of state secrets, all nations with nuclear weapons have strict restrictions against the giving of information relating to nuclear weapon design, stockpiles, delivery systems, and deployment. States are also limited in their ability to make public the information regarding nuclear weapons by non-proliferation agreements.
This page is a timeline of published security lapses in the United States government. These lapses are frequently referenced in congressional and non-governmental oversight. This article does not attempt to capture security vulnerabilities.
Jeff Gerth is a former investigative reporter for The New York Times who has written lengthy, probing stories that drew both praise and criticism. He won a Pulitzer Prize in 1999 for covering the transfer of American satellite-launch technology to China. He broke stories about the Whitewater controversy and the Chinese scientist Wen Ho Lee.
The National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) is a United States federal agency responsible for safeguarding national security through the military application of nuclear science. NNSA maintains and enhances the safety, security, and effectiveness of the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile; works to reduce the global danger from weapons of mass destruction; provides the United States Navy with safe and effective nuclear propulsion; and responds to nuclear and radiological emergencies in the United States and abroad.
The United States has often accused the government of the People's Republic of China of attempting to unlawfully acquire U.S. military technology and classified information as well as trade secrets of U.S. companies in order to support China's long-term military and commercial development. Chinese government agencies and affiliated personnel have been accused of using a number of methods to obtain U.S. technology, including espionage, exploitation of commercial entities, and a network of scientific, academic and business contacts. Prominent espionage cases include Larry Wu-Tai Chin, Katrina Leung, Gwo-Bao Min, Chi Mak and Peter Lee.