NEW YORK (AP) _ A CIA cable alleging that a consultant for American aerospace companies bribed Chinese officials to win lucrative contracts was buried in agency files for two years, according to published reports today.

The information was disclosed this year only after the start of a congressional probe into whether the Clinton administration had jeopardized national security by aggressively promoting technology exports to China, The New York Times said, citing U.S. intelligence officials.

U.S. law bans companies and individuals from making payments abroad to secure contracts. In addition, the CIA has an agreement to share with the Justice Department information about potential criminal activity.

The cable doesn't specify on whose behalf the consultant, Bansang Lee, was working.

Lee, 51, who was reared in China but educated in the United States, told The Wall Street Journal he started working for Hughes Electronics Corp. in 1992 as a consultant and left in 1995. He was later hired by Loral Space & Communications Co. and still does work for the company.

The cable also does not indicate what kind of officials the Chinese were, how much money was exchanged, or whose money it was.

Lee's lawyer, Brian O'Neill, said his client ``has never made any unlawful or improper payments of any kind to any Chinese officials.''

Loral and Hughes spokesmen denied any wrongdoing.