Long the subject of reform proposals, the Department of Energy (DOE), which was created in 1977 by merging the Atomic Energy Commission with several other energy-related agencies, may finally be headed for reorganization in the wake of allegations of widespread nuclear espionage at U.S. nuclear weapons laboratories. According to a report released in May by a select congressional committee chaired by Representative Christopher Cox (R-CA), the Energy Department's security and counterintelligence apparatus is completely inadequate, making it possible for China to acquire classified information on seven types of U.S. nuclear warheads. (Continue)
SPURRED BY THE COX Report's allegations of Chinese espionage at U.S. nuclear weapons labs and a blistering report by a high-level investigative panel that concluded the Department of Energy (DOE) is incapable of reforming itself, both the House of Representatives and the Senate are considering legislation that would create a semi-autonomous agency within DOE to manage the nation's nuclear weapons complex. As of late June, Energy Secretary Bill Richardson continued to express strong opposition to any restructuring plan that called for the creation of a separate entity either within or outside his department. (Continue)
With little evidence and flawed logic, the Cox Report has concluded that China, exploiting purloined U.S. nuclear weapons design information, can now match U.S. nuclear weapons technology and emerge as a major nuclear threat to the United States.
THE UNITED STATES has been the victim of a sustained Chinese espionage campaign alleged to have acquired classified information on seven types of U.S. thermonuclear weapons, a bipartisan select committee from the House of Representatives reported May 25. Led by Representative Christopher Cox (R-CA), the panel of five Republicans and four Democrats released a 900-plus page declassified version of its report charging extensive—and probably ongoing—penetration of U.S. nuclear weapons labs by Chinese agents, indications that U.S. weapons technology may be used in China's strategic modernization plans, and widespread Chinese efforts to acquire U.S. dual-use technology through legal and illegal means. (Continue)