Rep. Christopher Cox in 1998 headed a select committee probe into China’s theft of U.S. nuclear and military technology. The committee found that China “has stolen classified design information on the United States’ most advanced thermonuclear weapons. These thefts of nuclear secrets from our national weapons laboratories enabled the PRC to design, develop, and successfully test modern strategic nuclear weapons sooner than would otherwise have been possible. The stolen U.S. nuclear secrets give the PRC design information on thermonuclear weapons on a par with our own.”
Reed Irvine and I worked with Notra Trulock, who exposed this scandal when he was Director of Intelligence at the Department of Energy. His book, Code Name Kindred Spirit, revealed the lax security at Los Alamos that enabled one of its scientists, Wen Ho Lee, to download highly classified nuclear secrets onto insecure computers and copy them onto tapes. It also exposed the lax attitude of the CIA, FBI and others in the Clinton administration that made it impossible to staunch the flow of nuclear weapons secrets, missile technology and supercomputers to China. (Lee was indicted on 59 felony counts and later released after pleading guilty to the one felony count.)
The Trulock book quotes Paul Redmond, former head of counterintelligence at the CIA, as saying that “millions of Americans could someday die as a result of successful Chinese nuclear espionage” against the U.S. In a reference to the American spies who stole our nuclear secrets for the Soviet Union, Redmond told Trulock, “This is as bad as the Rosenberg case.” The Rosenbergs were Soviet spies executed for espionage.