None Dare Call it Treason

by Patrick J. Buchanan – April 24, 1998

In 1953, in one of the dramatic acts of the Cold War, Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were executed in Sing Sing prison for having turned over atomic secrets to Stalin’s Russia.

America was a serious country then. Outside the hard left, few sympathized with the Rosenbergs as they went to their place of execution. But today, the nation seems to have no vital interests the betrayal of which might justify such retribution. Consider:

In 1996, two custodians of America’s vital missile technology quietly handed over to Beijing critical information to improve the reliability of China’s long-range rockets — the rockets that carry the nuclear warheads that Beijing has targeted on the U.S.A.

Were the responsible executives at Hughes Electronics and Loral Space and Communications dragged from their offices in handcuffs like CIA traitor Aldrich Ames? By no means. Bill Clinton intervened to undermine any prosecution. Said a disgusted Senate aide, Clinton gave the corporate reprobates a “get out of jail free” card.

Here is the story, as uncovered by Jeff Gerth in The New York Times:

In 1992, the United States learned that China had transferred missile technology to Pakistan. Clinton ordered, as a sanction, that no U.S. sophisticated satellites be launched on Chinese rockets. This was a blow to U.S. manufacturers of high-tech satellites who were depending on state-subsidized, low-cost Chinese rockets to launch their satellites.

As Hughes and Loral have contributed $2.5 million to the Democratic Party since 1991, then-Hughes chief C. Michael Armstrong wrote two tough letters to Clinton, reminding him of past support. Upset at losing business to European rivals, he urged Clinton to let U.S. companies use China’s rockets and to transfer control of satellite exports from a hostile State Department to a friendly Commerce Department.

In 1994, Loral Chairman Bernard Schwartz joined a Ron Brown junket to China, where Loral won a contract for a mobile telephone network. Weeks later, Harold Ickes wrote Clinton that Schwartz “is prepared to do anything he can for the administration.”

Ickes did not understate. Schwartz has emerged as a premier donor of the Democratic Party, shelling out $366,000 last year alone.

The pressure paid off. Sanctions on China were lifted, and in 1996, control of satellite technology transfers was handed over to Commerce. Unfortunately, China’s launch of a $200 million Loral satellite lasted only 22 seconds, as the missile crashed and burned.

China’s rocketeers did not know what happened. So, scientists for Loral and Hughes stepped in and discovered the accident had been caused by an electrical flaw in the rocket’s flight control system. Sharing this information, the team gave Chinese scientists the full report that also dealt with guidance and control systems, a chronic weakness in the rocket program of the Chinese military.

A stunned State Department had the Pentagon investigate. After a year-long study, the Defense Department concluded that “United States national security has been harmed.” The Justice Department began a criminal investigation of Loral and Hughes. Enter Bill Clinton.

In February, ignoring pleas from Justice, Clinton undermined the investigation by signing a waiver allowing the sale to China of the kind of missile technology Loral and Hughes had transferred.

Writes Human Events, “The greatest scandal of the Clinton administration is that the president of the United States has sold out the national security interests of our country to Communist China.”

Only months ago, Clinton was prepared to send U.S. pilots to their deaths to prevent Iraq from acquiring weapons to be launched on Scud missiles. Yet, a Scud has not a tenth of the range of these Chinese rockets, and the biological weapons Saddam Hussein is trying to build have nothing like the assured destructive power of the nuclear weapons China is targeting on the United States.

How times change. Ronald Reagan was almost impeached for shipping anti-tank weapons to Iran, while Clinton gets a pass for rescuing companies that gave the greatest tyranny on Earth an improved capacity to burn to ashes the cities of his own country.

Half a century ago, the most detested of Americans had sold scrap metal to Japan. Now, men who enhance the capacity of the missile forces of potential enemies are known as Friends of Bill.

Ad nauseam, we are reminded that the private life of Bill Clinton is none of our business. But presidential intervention to absolve corporate contributors of near treason is our business.