Documents Provided in Spy Inquiry
WASHINGTON (AP) _ Apparently averting a subpoena battle, the Energy Department today delivered to a House Armed Services subcommittee material the panel has been seeking for nearly eight months in an inquiry into alleged Chinese espionage at a U.S. nuclear weapons laboratory.
Just moments before the military procurement subcommittee met Monday to consider issuing a subpoena, Energy Secretary Bill Richardson offered to provide the material by this morning in separate phone calls to Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., the panel’s chairman, and Rep. Norman Sisisky, D-Va., the panel’s senior Democrat, Hunter and Sisisky announced.
At issue is written testimony prepared for an Oct. 6, 1998, meeting of the committee by Notra Trulock, the Energy Department intelligence officer who triggered an investigation into alleged Chinese spying at the nation’s nuclear weapons labs.
Energy Department spokeswoman Brooke Anderson said today that the material was being delivered to the committee.
Maureen Cragin, a committee spokeswoman, confirmed that material had arrived. ``We did get something. The staff is taking a look to see if it’s what we wanted,″ she said.
Trulock, who later resigned, has said he was prevented from sharing information with Congress about the Los Alamos investigation by superiors, including Elizabeth Moler, then deputy energy secretary.
The subcommittee demanded the original, unedited and classified copy of Trulock’s testimony in a March 24 letter to Richardson. Hunter contends the testimony he actually gave the committee was heavily edited by the administration.
``I think we’ve been very patient on this matter,″ Hunter said.
``Dr. Trulock had prepared testimony for this committee. That testimony had been changed,″ Hunter said. ``We don’t know what Dr. Trulock was going to tell us.″
Richardson offered to deliver the unrevised, classified version of Trulock’s original testimony to the panel today, Hunter and Sisisky said. If the document isn’t delivered, Hunter said, ``then we will have another meeting ... and we will issue the subpoena.″
Hunter asserted that Energy Department officials ``didn’t tell us the truth″ in October 1998 when they said there were no recent thefts of nuclear missile technology secrets from the Los Alamos nuclear weapons laboratory in New Mexico.
A former Los Alamos computer scientist, Wen Ho Lee, was fired in March for violating security rules. Although not charged with a crime, he has been the FBI’s prime target in the nearly four-year investigation of the alleged theft.
Lee, a Taiwan-born computer scientist who worked with the top-secret weapons design team at Los Alamos since the late 1970s, has denied giving any secrets to China and has accused the government of singling him out because he is Chinese-American.
China has repeatedly rejected any allegations of espionage.
Sisisky cautioned that ``nothing has been proven that anything has been stolen.″
Still, he said, the panel is entitled to the unrevised testimony. ``Some of us might not agree on the need for the document, but that is another matter.″