CyberAlert -- 06/10/1999 -- "Gun Lobby" Puppets; Only FNC Noticed Richardson; CNN's McGovernite
"Gun Lobby" Puppets; Only FNC Noticed Richardson; CNN's McGovernite
2) Energy Secretary Richardson condemned new lab security rules and a top Democrat castigated a Richardson deputy for pushing Clinton spin, but only FNC's Carl Cameron took note. He revealed FBI agents accused Justice officials of "deliberate incompetence."
3) Countering the Clinton spin holding Reagan and Bush as equally culpable, Investor's Business Daily determined "the vast majority of the leaks over the past 20 years have sprung on Clinton's watch." And that's not counting recent cases kept suppressed.
Energy Secretary Bill Richardson appeared at an open hearing held by a Senate committee on Wednesday, providing a hook for the networks to catch viewers up on the Chinagate scandal, but only FNC noticed. (Details in item #2 today.) The only scandal which interested the networks: How the Republican House is pushing a weakened gun control bill ominously written by the "gun lobby."
the NRA on Wednesday and ABC and NBC jumped.
ABC's World News
Tonight devoted a full story to Clinton's complaint and though it
included soundbites from a Republican and a NRA official, its angle
matched the liberal agenda -- assuming less restrictive gun rules are bad
and that there's something wrong with a group, which represents millions
of Americans, having input into legislation.
ABC News is so far in the tank with liberals that they ignored how conservatives perceive the maneuvering by the House leadership to pass a gun control bill. House leaders are bringing the bill to the floor directly, bypassing the House Judiciary Committee where committee conservatives could tie up the bill. Once again Republican leaders tried to gain good press by appeasing liberals, in this case by cutting a conservative power base out of the loop in order to make sure a gun control bill passes, only to still be portrayed as pushing an extremist agenda.
A week-and-a-half after he promised to fire Energy Department officials whose incompetence exacerbated the espionage, a promise he has yet to fulfill, Energy Secretary Bill Richardson appeared before the Senate's Select Committee on Intelligence. It was an open hearing with cameras taping footage any network could use, but only one bothered.
Richardson denounced the Senate-passed rules clamping down on security and the committee's top Democrat castigated a Richardson deputy for trying to falsely impugn others with language that sounded like it was written at the "political shop over at the White House." I only know this because of Carl Cameron's FNC story which also revealed how FBI agents have accused Justice officials of "deliberate incompetence" in ignoring evidence of espionage.
On the June 9
Special Report with Brit Hume, Cameron began by pointing out how
Richardson told Senators he opposes new security proposals because they
"undermine and micro-manage him."
how the House unanimously passed new security measures proposed in the Cox
Report and then concluded with exclusive information about more
FNC's 7pm ET Fox
Report culled all this down to 38 seconds, but that's still 38 seconds
more than allocated by ABC, CBS, CNN and NBC which all ignored these
events of the day. CNN devoted virtually all of The World Today to Kosovo
and breaking news of a peace deal wiped out Inside Politics. The other
networks, however, found time on June 9 for plenty of other stories:
Bill Richardson keeps claiming the espionage spanned from Reagan to Clinton so Clinton should not be blamed more than previous recent Presidents, but a Wednesday Investor's Business Daily article proves the Clinton administration does deserve most of the blame. "A '20-Year' Security Breakdown? In Fact, Leaks To China Ruptured On Clinton's Watch," announced the June 9 headline.
IBD Washington Bureau Chief Paul Sperry determined that "the vast majority of the leaks over the past 20 years have sprung on Clinton's watch and nearly all the old leaks have shown up then." Plus, the Cox Report "doesn't disclose the full extent of Chinese espionage in the Clinton years. Citing 'national security' reasons, the White House censored roughly 375 pages, including several recent cases."
Here's an excerpt of Sperry's illuminating expose in which he did what so few in the Washington media have actually done: Read the Cox Report and then called experts for their analysis and recollections of what policies each administration followed:
Say it enough and it becomes common wisdom.
Two days before a special House report detailed Chinese espionage at U.S. nuclear weapons labs, Energy Secretary Bill Richardson said: "There was lax security at the labs in the '70s, '80s and '90s."
On May 25, the day of the report, Richardson said blame should "start in the '70s and '80s."
Five days after the report, he said it "points out some very serious lapses at our national laboratories in the '70s, '80s and the '90s."
He added: "We need to focus on correcting a problem that spanned Republican and Democratic administrations."
That's now the standard press line on Chinese espionage: It spanned 20 years and included both GOP and Democratic administrations.
"From Reagan to Clinton, a spy scandal hard to match: Report details 20 years of laxity as China stole nuclear secrets," echoed USA Today's lead editorial on May 26.
Yet the scandal is anything but seamless. In fact, it bunches up hard around the Clinton administration.
Nearly two weeks ago, Richardson vowed that heads would soon roll. As of press time, he still hasn't said who's on the way out.
The declassified version of the House report identifies 11 cases of Chinese espionage since the late 1970s. Eight took place during President Clinton's years in office. Two of the three prior cases were first learned in 1995 and 1997.
In other words, the vast majority of the leaks over the past 20 years have sprung on Clinton's watch and nearly all the old leaks have shown up then.
That's not all. The House report doesn't disclose the full extent of Chinese espionage in the Clinton years. Citing "national security" reasons, the White House censored roughly 375 pages, including several recent cases.
At least 24 times, the declassified version of the report states: "The Clinton administration has determined further information cannot be made public." Left out are details about Chinese espionage that took place in the "mid-1990s" or "late 1990s."
"Some of the most significant thefts occurred in the last four years," said Rep. Chris Cox, R-Calif., who headed the House panel.
Former Reagan Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger says he's not surprised.
"Every existing roadblock inhibiting (China's) nuclear progress has been removed over the past six years," he said in a foreword to an abridged book version of the Cox report.
He also cited the administration's "apparent reluctance to block or punish espionage."
It's now plain that the administration, which still sees China as a "strategic partner," departed from long-standing national security policies.
It relaxed security at the labs, particularly when it came to Chinese visitors and workers. It balked at prosecuting suspected Chinese spies. And it removed controls on dual-use exports to China.
Of course, the end of the Cold War looms large in the security meltdown.
For nearly half a century, the U.S. had been on 24-hour guard against the Soviets' Evil Empire. When it imploded, a new "openness" was born -- especially among defense lab scientists, who saw the chance to turn their fortresses into international science fairs.
This is a "very different time," said a former assistant Energy secretary under Bush. The period of lab openness "began in some form after the demise of the former Soviet Union."
Congress also shares some blame. It was briefed about lab security lapses and spying as early as 1997, Energy officials point out. Yet it failed to take action until this year.
That's scapegoating, argues Rep. Curt Weldon, R-Pa., one of the Cox panel members.
"In the first couple years of this administration, they tore down what had been established practices for security at the labs," he said in an interview.
In fact, the administration took several steps to open up the labs to foreigners, including:
-- Getting rid of color-coded security badges, which guards had used to clear workers for access to classified areas.
-- Stopping FBI background checks -- which the law requires -- on foreign workers and visitors at two of the Energy Department's most sensitive weapons labs -- Los Alamos and Sandia.
Checks ended in the fall of 1993. The next year, Chinese visitors to the two labs more than doubled to 329.
In 1997 -- two years after a Chinese spy was found at Los Alamos -- the labs did background checks on only 2% of visitors from China, the General Accounting Office found.
-- Slashing the lab-security budget 40% since 1992.
-- Declassifying millions of papers about the U.S. nuclear program.
Of course, GAO found security lapses at the labs in the 1980s, too -- but mainly because existing procedures weren't followed.
In fact, previous administrations beefed up counterspying efforts.
"This doesn't say there wasn't spying on my watch, but we spent $1.5 billion covering counterintelligence operations when the Reagan administration came in and acknowledged security problems at the labs," said Frank Gaffney, Reagan's assistant secretary of Defense for international security policy.
Clinton argues, reasonably, that past administrations opened the door to satellite exports to China.
But he also claims he was just following suit. Here, he's at odd with the facts.
Though Reagan and Bush allowed exports of commercial satellites to China, they still worried about the Chinese military getting its hands on dual-use technology. So they maintained export licensing safeguards.
The same can't be said for Clinton.
If satellite technology were a present, the degree of gift-giving among the three Presidents can be compared like this:
Reagan provided the box. Bush provided the paper. Clinton put the technology in the box, wrapped it up, tied a bow and shipped it FedEx to Beijing....
That's only the first half of the story, but space prevents further excerpting today. Unfortunately, the IBD Web site only features that day's stories and has no archive. So, if space permits, on Friday I'll excerpt the rest. You can see Thursday's Investor's Business Daily by going to: http://www.investors.com
Lou Dobbs has denied that his feud with CNN/USA President Rick Kaplan prompted his resignation, a reason suggested in the June 9 CyberAlert which detailed a battle the two had a couple of weeks ago over putting a Clinton speech on live and thus bumping Moneyline. A New York Observer story about Dobbs revealed that he urged Ted Turner to fire Kaplan as well as CNN News Group Chairman Tom Johnson.
With Dobbs now gone a McGovernite brought aboard by Kaplan will oversee the Moneyline show on CNN: Jeff Gralnick.
-- Why he resigned:
Post's Howard Kurtz and Lisa DeMoraes relayed in a June 9 story:
Peter Johnson in a June 9 item:
-- A Dobbs diss to
Kaplan and how he had urged that all overseeing Tailwind be fired. The
MRC's Tim Graham caught a very informative New York Observer piece about
Dobbs' tenure at CNN. Jim Rutenberg relayed a few paragraphs in:
A revealing reply.
Rutenberg on the
Kaplan months at CNN:
Mr. Kaplan immediately started hiring talent from ABC -- Willow Bay, Jeffrey Greenfield -- for a new, hour-long magazine show called NewsStand. Its first big story is now known, simply, as
Tailwind -- in which hotshot correspondent Peter Arnett got before a camera and said that the U.S. military had used nerve gas on U.S. defectors during Vietnam. The story, it turned out, was indeed too good to be true: It had not been thoroughly nailed and it had to be retracted. Mr. Kaplan had mud on his face and Mr. Dobbs wanted him out.
"He and Dobbs had a major public break over Tailwind," said an ex-CNN executive. "Dobbs was screaming that Johnson and Arnett and Kaplan should all be fired."
Besides the direction of the network, Mr. Kaplan's friendship with the Clintons became an issue between them. (Mr. Kaplan is golfing buddies with the President.) And that was what was simmering beneath Mr. Dobbs' displeasure over allowing the CNN cameras to cut to Littleton, Colo.
To read this whole story, go to: http://www.observer.com/pages/frontpage4.htm
The Post left out one noteworthy resume item for Gralnick: Press Secretary to Senator George McGovern in 1971. Gralnick had been in charge of ABCNEWS.com through last year. After his stint with McGovern he joined ABC News, rising to Executive Producer of World News Tonight by 1979 and Vice President in 1985. He jumped to NBC in 1993 to serve as Executive Producer of NBC Nightly News. ABC lured him back in 1996 to run their later-scuttled all-news cable channel.
The New York Post's Jon Elsen noted that both Bohrman and Gralnick "will report to CNN boss Tom Johnson."
So, this is who runs CNN: Former McGovern aide Jeff Gralnick oversees financial news and reports to CNN News Group Chairman Tom Johnson, who toiled in the Lyndon Johnson White House with Bill Moyers. Rick Kaplan, a Clinton buddy and one-time campaign worker in Eugene McCarthy's 1968 presidential bid, runs the CNN domestic network and reports to Johnson.
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