Accuracy in Media

As the congress and the media were preoccupied with impeaching the President over sex and lies, ABC?s 20/20 program came forth with a dramatic story accusing the administration and a major company of scandalous dealings with Communist China. The story was fairly straightforward: Clinton came into office promising to punish communist China for selling missiles to countries like Iran. Instead, after some corporate pressure and campaign contributions, Clinton decided to let American companies sell technology to China so it could make missiles that could strike the United States. On the surface, it sounds like a case of bribery and treason.

A top government official responsible for safeguarding our missile technology quit his post in disgust. He was featured in the ABC 20/20 story, narrated by Chris Wallace, which aired on December 2nd. Lt. Col. Al Coates accused Hughes Aircraft of putting national security at risk for a profit. He got so frustrated that the government wouldn?t take action against Hughes that his blood pressure became 158 over 106, and he was ready to explode.

Coates is a classic whistleblower. But like others who have blown the whistle on the corruption in the current administration, he found that the truth in the missile case was not welcomed. The reason is simple. Clinton decided to accommodate the Chinese and their American business partners. The story dates back to 1993, when Clinton was seeking business support for his tax-raising economic package. He asked then-Hughes chairman Michael Armstrong for help. After Congress passed it, Armstrong sent a letter to Clinton saying, “You asked me to support your economic package. I did.” And then there was this warning, “This will be public and political shortly.” All of this was highlighted on the ABC 20/20 program.

Clinton got the message. He changed his policy, making it easier to do business in China. Armstrong was even put in charge of President Clinton?s export advisory council. This change of policy was also assisted by aerospace executives giving big campaign contributions to the Democrats. Even under the change, these companies were supposed to guard against giving the Chinese access to secrets of our missile technology. But Lt. Col. Coates found that the secrets were slipping out anyway. The most dramatic change came after a Chinese missile that was going to launch an American satellite into space exploded in 1996. After this accident, the Chinese launches got suddenly better. In fact, they?ve been 100 percent reliable since that accident.

A Pentagon report found that the difference could be attributed to scientists from Hughes and another U.S. company, Loral, giving the Chinese expertise about what went wrong. That information has also enabled the Chinese to improve the accuracy and reliability of their nuclear missiles. Coates says he supplied information to his superiors about these breaches of security but nothing was done.

We?re tempted to say that you should contact your Senator or Congressman. But Senator Fred Thompson was on the ABC program, wringing his hands and calling the scandal “very disturbing.” “It?s our responsibility” to get to the bottom of this, he said. If so, they should start ? now.

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